Number 1323 (Items 358 - 509 & MR 27 - MR 36) (E-BLN 69 PAGES) 23 Feb 2019
BRANCH LINE NEWS
…………… Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1324 is dated Sat 9 Mar; please send contributions by Wed 27 Feb.
Date Event and details = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status
Sun 24 Feb Tyne & Wear Metro tourc,ie0t8y..4S0oc-ie1t6y..05; WAITING LIST 1317 MG FULL
Wed 27 Feb The Swanage Shunters; APPLY FOR WAITING LIST 1318 MG FULL
Fri 1 Mar Shrewsbury boxes (short notice, advertised by BLS email) N/A BC FULL
Sun 10 Mar Ashton Park Rly & Farewell to the Woodfield Light Railway Below MG *OPEN*
Sat 23 Mar The Marching Crompton II, Class 33; SEE UPDATE BELOW Below MG OPEN
Sat 23 Mar The Weymouth Walkabout to Weymouth Quay etc 1318 TG OPEN
Sat 23 Mar Weymouth Rio Grande Railway (10¼" gauge) during break 1322 MG OPEN
Sun 24 Mar The Ruby Vampire - The Second Bite; SEE UPDATE BELOW Below MG FULL
Sat 6 Apr Provisional track tour to East Anglia REDATED (BELOW) TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 14 Apr Weston, Nantwich Methodist Church & Willaston Railways TBA TBA Claimed
Fri 26 Apr The Bo'ness Bonus (Bo'ness etc to Crewe single journey) 1322 MG OPEN
Sat 27 Apr The Gourock Growler; Track & Traction tour from Crewe 1322 MG OPEN
Sun 28 Apr The Sunday Shed (single journey Crewe to Polmont etc) 1322 MG OPEN
Sat 4 May K&ESR The Andrew Wilson (Brillo) Memorial Charter 1322 MG OPEN
16-18 May Island of Ireland IV - a few places left Thur, Fri & Sat 1319 KA NOTIFY
Sun 19 May Cork - Dublin Heuston (for evening flights), Rare Track tour TBA TBA Claimed
Thur 13 Jun Save the date, annual Pre-Peaks Challenge Railtour TBA TBA Claimed
7 and 8 Jul Sun and Mon; save the dates for Devon service train tracker TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 27 Jul The return of Thunder Vac 50008 (D408), circular tour Below MG *OPEN*
26 - 28 Jul Society rare track tour in southern Austria; notify interest 1318 PG Notify
Sat 14 Sep *NEW* SAVE THE DATE Provisional track tour to East Anglia TBA TBA Claimed
Mon 26 Aug 09.30-18.30 Scunthorpe Steeler No19 railtour TBA TBA Claimed
BC = Barney Clark; KA = Kev Adlam; MG = Mark Gomm; PG = Paul Griffin; TG = Tom Gilby; Contacts: back page.
358] :The Gourock Growler, Sat 27 Apr:: (BLN 1322.239) Rare track on this Track & Traction tour from
Crewe (06.10/21.59) & Wigan NW (06.39/21.27) includes: Barton & Broughton Loop, Shap DGL,
Penrith Down Slow (P3) - Carlisle (08.40/19.32) - Carlisle Network Yard - Quintinshill DPL - Beattock DPL
- Beattock Summit DPL - Abington DPL - Carstairs DPL - Law DPL - Motherwell - Mossend Up Yard -
(X/O before/after) - Whifflet South Jn - Sunnyside Jn (X/O before/after) - Shettleston Up/Down GL -
Glasgow Queen St Low Level - Anniesland - Knightswood South Jn - Dawsholm Jn (X/O before/after) -
Cowlairs West Jn - Sighthill West Jn - Springburn P2 - Bellgrove - High Street Jn - Down City Union -
Shields Jn - Gourock (break) - Up & Dn Through Terminus (rev) - Brownhill DPL - Barassie DPL - Falkland
Yard - Newton Jn - Mauchline Jn then Tebay Up & Dn Goods in the Up direction (X/O before/after).
359] :*NEW* Bristol Area Miniatures, Sun 10 Mar:: Thanks to our (local) General Secretary, Tim Wallis.
09.30 (approx) :Ashton Park Railway: (MR p23) which, as reported in BLN, has been threatened with
closure and is only on a short term lease. Private running (a non-public day) for full coverage of the 530yd
ground-level 5"/7¼" and the slightly longer elevated 3½"/5" lines, including the links between set-down
and pick-up areas (usually ECS only) and other lines as available. A selection of motive power is anticipated.
14.00 (approx) :Woodfield PRIVATE Light Railway,: 9½ miles south of Bristol on the A37, near Temple
Cloud, an interesting non-public 7¼" gauge operation by Recreation Railways, expected to be the FINAL
CHANCE to visit due to changing personal circumstances. Subject to a minimum of 25 participants, a full
afternoon operation with 2-4-2 steam loco 'SARA' (Eric Walker 1999) has been arranged to ensure that the
'challenging gradients' are not an issue. IMPORTANT: When booking please advise in the comments
section (or by post) if you can assist with car-sharing between sites, and how many, or if you need this.
Please book via our website, or post with Membership No(s) and email address or SAE to Mark Gomm
(back page). Queries to Mark, email preferred. Adults £35; U18 £17.50 (must be accompanied by a fare-
paying adult) for all or part of the day. Non-members welcome at same prices, subject to BLS Ts & Cs.
360] The Marching Crompton II, Sat 23 Mar:: (See BLN 1322.2350 for full route etc.) FURTHER UPDATE: In
the course of the planning process Bathampton and Pontrilas loops have been removed from the route but
after Maindee East Jn the tour will cross to the Down side to run through East Usk Yard (a different line
from the 'Positioning Move' has been requested). Bristol East Depot Goods Loop is now on the way to
Weymouth rather than the return giving the facing crossover before and the trailing one after as well.
361] :The Ruby Vampire - The Second Bite, Sun 24 Mar:: After Chester Curve the tour reverses at Rock
Ferry rather at Hooton, then (unusually for a passenger train) runs through Ellesmere Port to Warrington
BQ Down Slow. Both times at Acton Grange Jn the fast lines are booked. There is an evening Crewe P1 set
down at 20.34 then the tour will run to the Up & Down Pottery Loop to reverse before a second Crewe set
down at 20.57, after the unusual move from the Stoke line right across the Crewe layout to Crewe P12.
362] :*NEW* The Return of Thunder Vac - Sat 27 Jul:: The Society is delighted to be the booking agent for
this rather special circular tour charter in the summer. BLS members are welcome to book. In partnership
with Hanson & Hall Rail Services Solutions, the much anticipated return of 50008 (D408) 'Thunderer' to
mainline passenger operation, working over the beautiful Hadrian's Wall line AND the scenic, heavily
engineered Settle & Carlisle Line. An extended lunch break of around three hours has been requested at
Carlisle. Built by English Electric at Vulcan Foundry Works, Newton-le-Willows in 1968, 50008 is last
recorded as working a mainline passenger charter in Oct 1991, not long before withdrawal in June 1992.
A raffle will raise funds for Clapham Preschool (Bedford). A Buffet Car will serve a wide range of drinks,
snacks and light refreshments. A DB Cargo Class 67 will be attached to the rear for ETS purposes. Validated
provisional timings and routing as bid to NR: Derby (PU 07.30) - Alfreton - Sheffield (PU 08.45) - Swinton -
Leeds (PU 10.00) - York - Durham - Haltwhistle - Carlisle (break 13.30 to 16.30) - Garsdale (photo stop) -
Ribblehead - Leeds (SD 19.15) - Hambleton South Jn - Doncaster - Sheffield (SD 20.30) - Derby (SD 21.20).
No part fares will be available. First Class at a table for two £200; First Class £180; Standard Class £120.
There is no reduction for Under 18s but they must be accompanied by a fare paying Adult. Important:
please advise where you intend to join/alight (can be changed). Please book on our website or post with an
email address or an SAE to Mark Gomm, Bookings Officer per back page. Queries to Mark, email preferred.
363] Sales Officer's Report: As a result of Committee changes at the 2018 AGM, the opportunity was
taken by Graeme Jolley (the incoming) and Mark Gomm (the outgoing) Sales Officers to fully review
and modernise our Sales Department. Historically we held stocks of books to sell to members on tours
or by post. Thus Society funds have been tied up in these stocks and sometimes had to be written off if
new editions were published. For example the Platform 5 stock books are updated annually.
Additionally the market place for sales (not just books) is rapidly changing. Small orders attract little or
no discount for the Society. It is often just as (or more) cost effective for the Sales Officer to purchase a
book using his personal Amazon Prime account, with direct dispatch to the member placing the order
rather than ordering an item from a wholesaler then posting it on.
This service is now available to members although most may achieve larger savings with their own
online accounts (not just Amazon). In future the Society will only hold stocks of more specialised books
which are member favourites, for example:
(1): TRACKmaps books. These are obtained at a good discount that is passed on to our members.
......●Book 1 Scotland & Isle of Man - £10; ●Book 2 Eastern - £13; ●Book 3 Western & Wales - £10;
......●Book 4 Midlands & North West - £13; ●Book 5 Southern & TfL - £12. Prices include P&P.
(2): Baker's Atlas. This is currently out of stock as a new 15th edition is due soon and will be stocked.
(3): Booklets. (PSUL, Minor Railways etc), current editions will be available (generally £5 incl P&P).
The other remaining stock of books etc was sold off on our Looe Brush tour recently. Thus there will no
longer be a sales stand on our tours but, when a new edition of TRACKmaps/Baker is imminent, your
Sales Officer will ask for expressions of interest (not orders) in BLN to assess demand. They will be
available (at a significant discount) on our next tour or by post. The Sales Officer will continue to hold
spare tour window decals, badges, etc which are 'given away' for a donation as a service to members.
In summary, major issues of new publications likely to attract significant interest from members will be
available on tours or by post. For the very few unable to use the internet, small orders will be executed
by post but must be prepaid. Your Sales Officer will happily provide a quotation for a particular book.
Stock will be limited to the current TRACKmaps, Baker Atlas and donation items (window decals).
Finally the Sales Officer will endeavour to provide a review in BLN/BLNI, as appropriate, of new books
which may interest members. It is intended that this review will cover items such as any International
Rail Atlas or historical items related to branch lines rather than annual editions of stock books and
suchlike. As this is a new idea, Members' comments/offers to help are most welcome (per back page).
364] Railway Rights of Way: Thanks to the compiler (our Casnewydd member Rhys Ab Elis) and the
ever helpful Dave Cromarty, the data base has been updated to Feb 2019. It is available to logged in
Society members on our website; from the 'Home Page' go across to 'More Options...' and down to
'Railway Rights of Way'. It is probably the most comprehensive compilation of information about
disused railways in the British Isles which, after abandonment and track lifting, have undergone a
metamorphosis into a new form of use. This is where the general public has virtually unrestricted
access to them in the form of footpaths, bridleways, cycleways and roads. 'About' has more details.
The entries are geographical and, if possible, include the type of Right of Way (footpath, cyclepath,
bridleway, road or open space) and any name (eg 'Monsal Trail'), OS map references for the start
and finish, the distance available (to the nearest quarter of a mile) and the former Pre-Grouping
railway for the line. If you are interested in railways and like walking, there is much to explore.
Please submit updates to [email protected] or to 14 Rhes-Y-twnnel, Casnewydd, NP20 4BT.
365] Looe Brush Tour cleans up! Our 2 Feb Looe Brush Railtour raised
£3,547 for Railway Benefit Fund (RBF), the rail staff charity. The RBF
is the only charity that solely supports rail staff and their families.
Jason Tetley, RBF Chief Executive, said: 'BLS Fund-raising tours have
proved an important source of fundraising over the last few years,
and the Looe Brush continues this proud tradition. The money raised will allow us to assist more rail
staff and their families in hardship in 2019, and ensure we are there when things take a turn for worse
through illness, death, family tragedy or other crisis. RBF supports current and retired rail workers and
their families in financial difficulty due to illness, injury, bereavement or adversity through no fault of
their own and, as demand in this current climate is increasing, additional funds are gratefully received.'
'The funds you have raised will make a considerable contribution towards the expansion of our new
services. In the last year we have developed both helplines that will seek to prevent hardship along
with additional information resources including a mobile phone legal advice application.'
'The BLS's on-going support is truly invaluable to us and this contribution will make a vital difference to
the help we can offer to the current and retired rail worker in financial hardship. Thank you again.'
The Looe Brush raffle alone broke the previous Society record by £700 raising over £2,000 (that is
more than 12,000 tickets sold) from about 310 people on the train. This was shared between RBF,
St John's Hospice, Lancaster and a further charity also nominated by our West Coast Railways friends.
Their two good causes also received £3,547 in total. £500 each was given to two charities nominated
by Moorswater Tarmac Cement Terminal - St Luke's Hospice, Plymouth, and Puttin' on the Ritz Dance
Centre. The previous day on the 'Positioning Move', an impressive £1,050 was raised by the raffle for
the Brush Type 4 Fund (from about 230 on board). Thank you to all who bought tickets, donated prizes
or books of tickets, helped with printing etc, particularly (on this occasion) the Brush Type 4 Fund
members. In total over the whole weekend £10,400 was raised for six different good causes.
366] National Railway Museum, York: The Society has received a letter from the Museum thanking us
for our recent donation of £500 towards funding their Search Engine, library and research department
(see BLN 1321.226). This was made in lieu of Richard Maund's Royalties on his 2019 edition of PSUL.
367] Welcome! To our 100 new members who joined since 19 Dec; membership now exceeds 1,800.
368] BLN Pictorials: (Fourth across along our website Home Page banner.) Thanks to Phil Logie there
are three new ones to see. Angus McDougall's 'First Generation' Tramways in Britain has 25 wonderful
annotated historic pictures he took in the 1950s - see which towns and cities are included. A little
more up to date is Dave Cromarty's collection of pictures (with a map) of the West Midlands Metro
Wolverhampton station extension late last year. Also, expected around the time this BLN comes out,
is 'Old Stations' also by Angus McDougall. Based on his previous pictures this should be a real treat.
369] E-BLN 1321 Anyflip flopped: The delay in e-BLN 1321 appearing on Thur 24 Jan was due to
'Anyflip' (booklet presentation programme) misformatting the three landscape pages despite the best
efforts of our Online Communications Officer, Mark Haggas, to sort it out. They were Dave Cromarty's
plan of Bowesfield Jn, the large scale map of the Cheshire Lines Committee realignment at Irlam to
gain height for the bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal when it was constructed and our T&W
Metro tour marked up map. They had to go out rotated by 90o, reducing the size by 50% (downloaded
A4 e-BLN was unaffected). Now that 'Anyflip' is working again the original e-BLN 1321 has been loaded
as intended and can be found on our website document archive. Of note pictures and pages tend to be
darker when viewed in booklet form via 'Anyflip' compared with A4 pages. Both versions benefit from
'full screen' width and, with this setting, portrait pages that follow landscape pages will not 'shrink'.
370] E-BLN 1323 Extras: Those on our T&W Metro 'South Gosforth Avoider' tour on 24 Feb (and other
members) might like to look at the detailed historical and route notes kindly compiled by our North
East Regional Editor, Geoff Blyth, along with Dave Cromarty's route map (in colour). There is also a
marked up map of our 5 Jan 2019 Scunthorpe steelworks railtour thanks to Martyn Brailsford; it also
shows recent changes/additions to the layout. A signalling notice from 5 Jul 1981 (thanks to the
Signalling Record Society) covers Hunslet Goods Jn (excl) - Methley Jn (item 409). Of considerable
branch line interest is a 17 page supplement about the history of Steam Railmotors, which is thanks to
our member Rob Davidson and Bernie Holland (Watford RCTS Branch Secretary). There is particular
reference to the Brentford Town branch and the excellent 18 & 19 Oct 2014 series of trips over it by
the Great Western Society's restored Steam Railmotor, which some of our members participated in.
1323 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
371] Welsh Highland Railway, Caernarvon station: (BLNs 1288.MR 166 and 1263.1600 with plan.) The
new passenger station building opened for the Santa trains on Sat 8 Dec 2018; the previous building
(across St Helen's Rd from the platform) used as a temporary booking office, shop and refreshment
facility has been vacated. There is a track layout modification to be made with its first use from the
start of services on 30 Mar 2019 (reports/pictures welcome) but the platform is essentially unchanged.
372] Betws-y-Coed (excl) - Blaenau Ffestiniog with Pont-y-Pant, Dolwyddelan and Roman Bridge
stations: (BLN 1322.353) TCP Mon 21 Jan 2019, due to a rock fall in Ffestiniog Tunnel; ROP Mon 28 Jan.
There are no Sunday services on the Conwy Valley branch at this time of year.
373] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopened/s Location (stations exclusive where bracketed) bold=closed now
1317.2435 25 Aug 18 16 Feb 19 *Heaton Norris Jn - Guide Bridge Station Jn [SO PSUL service]
1318.2558 25 Aug 18 16 Feb 19 *Gainsborough Trent East Jn - Wrawby Jn [SO service]
1322.242 28 Sep 18 Unknown CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan
1297.123 16 Feb 19 25 Feb 19 *(Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Hove)/(Lewes)
1311.1736 11 Feb 19 25 Feb 19 *Sandhills Jn - (Formby)
1310.1673 18 Feb 19 9 Mar 19 *(Taunton) - Tiverton Parkway - Cowley Bridge Jn
1319.2710 7 Mar 19 11 Mar 19 Lewes - Keymer Jn/Montpelier Jn/Seaford/Willingdon Jn
1311.1736 2 Mar 19 23 Mar 19 (Rock Ferry) - (Hooton)
1317.2441 2 Jan 19 30 Mar 19 West Somerset Railway; Bishops Lydeard - Minehead
1313.1945 20 Oct 18 1 Apr 19 *Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)
1311.1736 25 Mar 19 3 Apr 19 (Hooton) - (Chester P7)
1311.1736 7 Apr 19 15 Apr 19 Bidston East Jn - West Kirby, no DMUs to/from Bidston station
1311.1736 15 Apr 19 23 Apr 19 (Bidston) - West Kirby, DMUs expected to run to/from Bidston
1311.1736 27 Apr 19 6 May 19 Bidston East Jn - New Brighton
1322.247 28 May 19 3 Jun 19 *(Kettering) - Market Harborough - Wigston North Jn
1316.2303 2 Jan 19 Late Jul 19 Mid Hants Railway; Alton P3 - (Medstead & Four Marks)
374] Blackheath Jn - Perry Street Fork Jn - Slade Green Jn/Crayford Creek Jn and 6 stations: TCP Mon
11 Feb after passage of 05.40 Dartford to London Victoria and 06.10 Barnehurst to Cannon Street
(diverted non-stop to Blackheath via Slade Green and Woolwich). A significant landslip in a cutting on
the Up side between Barnehurst and Bexleyheath closed the line. Monitoring equipment detected
movement earlier that morning, some large trees and 300 tonnes of material had to be removed and
the embankment stabilised. Trains were diverted or cancelled. ROP Mon 18 Feb 2019 normal service.
375] Heaton Norris Jn - Guide Bridge Station Jn & Reddish South & Denton stations: (BLN 1317.2435)
Service resumed Sat 16 Feb 2019; previously ran Sat 18 Aug 2018. The suspension was due to Northern
Guards' industrial action. The trains are 08.46 Stalybridge to Stockport and 09.45 return (SO) PSULs.
376] Gainsborough Trent East Jn - Wrawby Jn with Gainsborough Central, Kirton Lindsey & Brigg
stations: (BLN 1318.2558) Service resumed Sat 16 Feb 2019; last ran Sat 18 Aug 2018. The suspension
was due to Northern Guards' industrial action. Since Sat 3 Nov 2018 a full service has run ECS, driver
only operated, to maintain route knowledge, arriving at Cleethorpes or Sheffield up to 20 minutes
early! The trains are (SO) 07.55, 11.55 & 15.55 Sheffield to Cleethorpes; 11.14, 15.11 & 19.17 return.
377] London Trams, Addiscombe - Birkbeck (both excl) & Arena - Elmers End (both incl) a total of five
stops: TCP Sat 16 to Sun 24 Feb 2019 (both incl) a half term closure to replace Blackhorse Lane bridge
over the line. Addiscombe Railway Park bridge is also being replaced. As well as additional weekend
possessions, two further significant tramway closures will be needed before completion in spring 2020.
378] Taunton (excl) - Tiverton Parkway (incl) - Exeter, Cowley Bridge Jn: (BLN 1322.323) TCP Mon 18
Feb to Fri 8 Mar 2019 for the Whiteball Tunnel works. At Taunton services mostly turnback from the
north in P2 & 3 with a few departures from P4 & 5. North bay P6 has its regular one weekly departure,
05.35 (SO) to Westbury all stations via Bristol TM. GWR and CrossCountry each have nonstop road
services to/from Exeter St Davids plus separate ones Tiverton Parkway to/from Exeter St Davids and
Taunton. GWR is running Plymouth - Paddington services every two hours, reversing at Exeter St
Davids (many call at Honiton) then Yeovil Junction to Pen Mill to regain the GWR route at Castle Cary.
Over the same period the single bore Up Marley Tunnel (228m 22ch - 227m 62ch) is closed for works,
(BLN 1322.323) with single line working through the Down bore (track relaid in 2009). The timetable is
reduced, all Up trains use the facing Aish Emergency Crossover (230m 37ch), Totnes P1 and Totnes
East trailing crossover (222m 39ch). The minimum required journey is Ivybridge to Newton Abbot.
379] Honeybourne Stratford Line Jn (102m 06ch) - Long Marston: (BLN 1311.1731) TCA of this 2½
mile long branch (known as 'The Honeybourne Through Siding') is expected from 10.00 Tue 26 Feb
until 07.00 Fri 1 Mar for preparatory works. Then again from 19.00 Mon 4 until 19.00 Fri 8 Mar 2019
for relaying, reballasting, tamping, welding and stressing 1,350yd of track. This will allow removal of
the 5mph emergency speed restriction imposed after the emergency closure (from 12.01 on 13th until
23 Aug 2018) for urgent repairs. The busiest days for train movements are Mondays and Fridays.
380] Cromer Jn - West Runton - Sheringham (NR): TCP Sun 31 Mar to Sun 5 May 2019 (both incl) for
reconstruction, lengthening, widening and improvement of Sheringham station platform (item 435).
381] Reedham Jn - Great Yarmouth (excl) & Berney Arms request station: (BLN 1320.7) ROP now
expected Mon 1 Apr 2019 (TCP/A Sat 20 Oct 2018 for remodelling of Reedham Jn). This is the date of
commissioning of the new junction and re-signalling of Brundall - Reedham Swing Bridge/Yarmouth.
382] Lisburn - Portadown (both excl): TCP/A Tue 23 Jul to Mon 26 Aug 2019 (both incl) for platform
works and track replacement at Lurgan in the school holidays. Belfast - Dublin services are by road
between Belfast and Newry (over 49 miles by rail). It is not yet clear if the closure will be Lisburn -
Portadown or Moira - Portadown. Scarva and Poyntzpass may have no trains but details are awaited.
BELOW: Cottam Power Station from the south, with West Burton in the background (EDF).
ABOVE: Cottam from the north showing some of the rail infrastructure, bottom left (EDF).
383] Clarborough Jn (68m 32ch) - Cottam Power Station NR Boundary (72m 00ch) and internal
Merry-go-round loop: On 7 Feb EDF (Électricité de France) announced that the 2GW coal fired power
station will cease generation on 30 Sep 2019. The neighbouring EDF West Burton Power Station has
contracts for three of its four units until the end of Sep 2021 when its situation will be reviewed.
Set in 620 acres, construction began in 1966 and generation started in 1969 with an anticipated plant
life of 30 years. The NR section of the power station branch was part of the (Retford) Clarborough Jn -
Torksey - Sykes Jn (Saxilby) double track ex-Great Central Railway direct line (the 'Leverton Branch')
CA 2 Nov 1959. Clarborough Jn - Cottam (junction with the new power station loop) ROP 12 Nov 1967
when new signalling was commissioned. Until recently there has been a spell of heavy inward rail
traffic as Cottam used up its coal stock and its permitted generation hours (saving hours at West
Burton over the winter which has been stocking coal). 'Pond Fines' ('waste coal' from settling ponds at
the former Hatfield and Maltby colliery washeries) have replaced biomass since the biomass subsidy
ended. They were taken by road to the Port of Tyne for blending (70% 'Pond Fines') with Durham and
Northumberland coal (brought in by road), then taken to Cottam by rail! Flue Gas Desulphurisation
Gypsum is still carried by rail to Ferrybridge (eg 14 Feb 2019) to supply the plasterboard facility.
NEXT PAGE: The branch and MGR loop; Clarborough Jn is top left, just east of Clarborough Tunnel and
Retford. Bottom right is the River Trent just west of the former Torksey viaduct (open to walkers).
1323 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
384] Mobile Signal Boxes: BLN 1322 recorded two signal boxes moving to locations on a different
company's lines. Hertford East box (Great Eastern) is to move to Constable Burton on the Wensleydale
Railway (North Eastern). The Midland Railway did have an interest in the Cheshire Lines Committee
(CLC), so the removal of Keighley signal box to Irlam is not entirely foreign. However, CLC signal boxes
were built by contractors or to the railway's own design. Midland design boxes were not used. Signal
boxes moving to foreign lines is not new. Hertford East will be the second Great Eastern signal box to
go to Wensleydale; the former North Wootton box is at Leeming Bar and the Railway's Control office.
The Spa Valley Railway has a Midland Railway signal box (from Buckden) at Tunbridge Wells West.
The signal box at Quainton Road (Metropolitan & Great Central Joint) is ex-Midland Railway from
Harlington. An LMS box from Claydon L&NE Jn is to be found at the Swindon & Cricklade Railway
(Midland & South Western Joint). The Signalling Record Society's book 'The Signal Box: A Pictorial
History and Guide to Designs' illustrates a former Great Central box at Magdalen Road (now
Watlington station, but the box is still named 'Magdalen Road') on the Great Eastern line to King's
Lynn and, most bizarrely of all, a North Staffordshire box that was moved to Ruthwell on the Glasgow
& South Western Railway. There are plenty of examples of signal boxes being moved to a different
place on the same company's lines, but were there other examples of boxes 'going foreign'?
385] A walk in the Park: Working at a station with 'Park' in the name, out of curiosity a member
decided to see how many other stations on the national network have 'park' in their name. This survey
is only concerned with current, open stations on the Network Rail network. Closed, heritage and non-
NR stations are not included, neither are the modern' parkway' variants. There are 59:
Adderley [BLN 1323] Oakleigh
Aughton Emerson Orrell
Battersea Finsbury Park Street
Bermuda Gidea Possilpark & Parkhouse
Birkenhead Grange Preston
Bowes Grove Queens (Glasgow)
Brondesbury Hampden Queen's (London)
Brookmans Highams Raynes
Burley Honor Oak St James
Bush Hill Hornbeam Stonebridge
Carpenders Humphrey Sundridge
Castle Bar Kempton Trafford
Conway Kings Wanstead
Crofton Kiveton Waun-Gron
Drayton Manor Wavertree Technical
Dumpton Maxwell Westcombe
Eccleston Milliken Woodgrange
Eden Moss Worcester
All have 'Park' as a suffix, except Park Street (on the Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey branch) and
one which is double barrelled, Possilpark & Parkhouse. [Does it count twice?]
Five park stations have an adjacent park station making 10 pairs of parks: ●Birkenhead & Conway;
●Drayton & Finsbury; ●Grove & Sundridge; ●Humphrey & Trafford and ●Wanstead & Woodgrange.
The last two are adjacent and now London Connections maps shows Manor Park as a connection - so
there is a park triangle. Hopefully no trains vanish in it! [No, that would be the Bermuda Park triangle.]
Queen's Park and Kilburn Park are adjacent but Kilburn Park is not a National Rail station, of course.
The shortest distance between two park stations is 51ch Humphrey Park to Trafford Park. The furthest
between park gates (by Railmiles Mileage engine) is Milliken Park to Dumpton Park at 486m 72ch.
Wimbledon Park is an oddity in that it is on the Point Pleasant Jn - Wimbledon NR line, but is a LUL
station served by the District line; no National services call, although some pass through (per PSUL).
To travel between the two Queens Park stations without passing through their respective cities is only
possible once in certain 24 hour periods, requiring more trains than going though Glasgow Central &
London Euston. It involves Queens Park to Newton, then to Motherwell, a sleeper train to Watford
Junction and to Queen's Park (London) or vice versa. An enquiry on a journey planner will route the
inter-park traveller into Glasgow Central, to Euston and then doubling back to the southern Queen's
Park of the pair, so only three trains. A train could run directly between the two without reversal.
Interestingly there is one instance of triple parking [watch for the traffic warden though] with three
consecutive park stations: Raynes, Motspur and Worcester. Motspur Park was a later addition as the
line originally only had Raynes and Worcester Park stations when it opened; indeed the latter opened
as 'Old Malden & Worcester Park' and then was renamed in Feb 1862. Apparently there would have
been four consecutive 'Parks' had Stoneleigh opened as Stoneleigh Park as originally intended, but
this was viewed as step (in the park) too far and would confuse passengers. Motspur Park is a busy
interchange, many passengers alight from Down trains for the likes of Hampton Court, Kingston and
New Malden then have to retrace their way back to the (Raynes) park gates to get on their correct
path in life. Now, which park stations have parks and which have car parks? No, let's park this for now.
386] Points & Slips: ●●BLN 1321.188] There is a 05.40 (SSuX) Colchester to Peterborough through
DMU with a 19.50 and 21.45 in the opposite direction. ●●BLN 1322.269] In the Cricklewood visit item
the full page cab view in e-BLN is a new Class 717 rather than 700. The fold down 'stairs' are in case
they need to 'take steps' to detrain in an emergency in the single bore Northern City Line tunnels.
1323 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
X.17] ABOVE: Bardon Hill Quarry sidings (BLN 1300.454) near Coalville (Sun 11 Feb 2018, Nick Jones).
387] Barton-on-Humber (4): (BLN 1322.254) The Friends of the Barton (FOBL) line advise that the
05.59 Cleethorpes to Barton and return are booked for a Class 185 DMU six days a week (SuX) as two
units are required for the morning service with the next departure at 07.00. The rest of the services is
then broadly every two hours, requiring one train. The Class 185 then works the 08.26 Cleethorpes to
Manchester Airport. The reason for removing the Class 185 stops at New Clee in the current timetable
is a platform height issue. At Ulceby (in the Barton direction) Class 185 DMUs foul the level crossing if
stopped inside the signal at the end of the platform, so don't call in this direction. FOBL was aware of
the erroneous bus times in the online systems and made numerous attempts to have Northern correct
them. Happily in the current timetable the station posters and timetable booklets are largely correct.
388] Gainsborough Lea Road: The connection in the Up Gainsborough line (north end of P1) to the Up
Sidings was plain lined by 24 Nov 2018, although the Sectional Appendix (5 Mar 2016) is out of date.
This was once the connection to the Trent Wharf Branch here which, until early 1980 at least, sent out
grain by rail (often Class 31 hauled) to the Tetley Walker brewery on the Warrington Dallam branch.
ABOVE: Barton-on-Humber branch terminus in Sep 1974 (Ian Mortimer).
389] Nottingham: During Feb work has been taking place on the lifts from the main entrance to P4-6.
During the current timetable fast (HST) London trains are now booked to use P7 (previously P6).
390] Ambergate: From Sun 17 Feb Ambergate Jn was moved about 421yd south, to 137m 41ch. The
Down Broadholme Loop was shortened by 551yd to 1,110yd and the entrance to the Up Broadholme
Loop (shortened by 393yd to 1,104yd) was moved south by 393yd.The layout is essentially unchanged.
391] Loughborough: Both stations have a pillar box, that at Central is outside but the wall box at the
Midland station (which is gated) is on the northbound platform. [This correspondence is closed - Ed.]
392] Leicester: Part of a massive development in this area of the city is the restoration of the frontage
of Leicester Central station (CP 5 May 1969). Previously the site was used by car mechanics and
breakers. Now the brick and stonework is being cleaned, the steelwork and glazing replaced and a café
bar created in the former cab area. The massive blue brick viaduct which had an island platform with
two north and two south bays remains, with a brown roofed factory unit wholly within the platforms.
Sections of the north bays are visible. There is a west entrance to the station and an entrance to the
Roman Pavement site (removed about 1966) on Jarvis St. The toilets on the Down side of the island
platform are being upgraded so are currently out of use. Alternatives are available on the Up side.
FIVE PHOTOS: Restoration work in progress at Leicester Central station. (All by Tom Gilby 3 Feb 2019.)
393] Market Harborough - Northampton: (BLN 1322.259) A member has written about a further
passenger use of the line in latter days by the Glasgow to London Euston sleeper train which ran via
Paisley, Ayr, Kilmarnock, Dumfries, Leeds, Leicester and, after 6 Jan 1969, Northampton (with the
closure of St Pancras sleeping car depot). This restored passenger services to Market Harborough No3
- Northampton No5. Our member used this train some 50 years ago when it made a Leicester call and
was then advertised to 'Northampton' where it became a Northampton to Euston service. There was
no indication in the timetable it had started further north. Its route in Scotland was of interest as it
served Paisley and Ayr before joining the Glasgow & South Western at Mauchline Jn. Later omitting
Ayr (where the Stranraer sleeper called), it then used the Dalry - Kilmarnock line (CA 22 Oct 1973).
1323 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
394] Lea Valley: (BLN 1316.2322) The OHLE on the new reversible line between Lea Bridge Jn and
Meridian Water is due to be energised from 24 Feb. [Energisation is ASAP due to metal thieves.]
395] Carlton Road Jn: (BLN 1322.267) The route over the Up Slow Line was plain lined overnight on
20/21 Jan. This also affects the bidirectional route from the Up Fast Line towards the Up Tottenham
Line. A replacement crossing is due to be delivered on 7 Mar and installed overnight on 10/11 Mar.
396] Charing Cross: https://goo.gl/cmHdeJ has NR Archive drawings and historical information.
397] Colindale: Station improvements are proposed due to new housing development in the area.
A new ticket hall, ticket gates and lift for step-free platform access are included. ('Underground News')
398] Bank: (BLN 1319.2731) Although the TfL website still shows the Northern Line blockades for the
construction of a new Southbound platform as taking place between Apr and Aug 2020, 'Underground
News' reports that the start has been delayed until May 2021. Speculation elsewhere suggests this
may be because there is no certainty that Crossrail will be open by Apr 2020 and that it is necessary to
help disperse passengers by alternative routes. The delay at Bank could in turn be another reason for
the delay in opening the Battersea Power Station branch (BLN 1320.44), as during the closure as many
trains as possible on the Charing Cross branch will need to run through to Morden.
399] HS2: (BLN 1322.273) From 3 Feb the points to South Siding No8 in the ex-GWR Old Oak Common
depot were recovered. The South Sidings ladder was renamed as the Back Line to the Crossrail depot.
https://goo.gl/fpoLZR has artist's impressions of the proposed HS2 Old Oak Common station.
400] Kilburn High Road: All day Sun 24 Feb the Euston - Watford Junction service is suspended north
of Queen's Park. Trains reverse in P4 there and use the trailing crossover on departure in service.
401] Northern City Line: (BLN 1320.49) 'Network SouthEast' branding was finally covered over with
'Great Northern' vinyls on Essex Road, Highbury & Islington, Moorgate and Old Street platform signs
by Dec 2018, only 24 years after that organisation ceased to exist! However, it remained on trackside
name friezes and destination maps at Essex Road (both sides) and Old Street (northbound) at least.
402] Piccadilly Line: (BLN 1306.1170) The Night Tube service was scheduled to be suspended on the
night of 23 Feb to enable signal control between Turnham Green and South Ealing/South Harrow to
be transferred to the new Signal Control Centre at South Kensington.
403] Unusual Stopping Patterns: The 00.46 SuMX Liverpool Street to Colchester is booked to call at
Stratford, Gidea Park and then Shenfield, so omitting Romford.
1323 NORTH EAST & YORKSHIRE (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
404] T&W Metro (1): Nexus is to re-deck two Metro bridges in North Tyneside. Burnside Road bridge
in Cullercoats will be refurbished over the weekend of 2-3 Mar and Beach Road bridge in Tynemouth
over 9-10 Mar. Each deck will be lifted out and the new bridge decks jacked into place using a multi-
wheeled lifting rig. This allows the work to be completed in just one weekend. Both weekends the
Metro is closed between Wallsend and Monkseaton. Trains from St James will use the facing
crossover to Wallsend P2. At Monkseaton there is an ECS shunt via the crossover east of the stop.
(2): A record 1.5M journeys were made during 2018 using Nexus Pay As You Go Pop cards, with a 50%
increase over 2017 in the number of adult Metro journeys made with them. Single journeys are 40p
less than the standard fare and all day travel 50p less than the equivalent Day Ticket using the cards.
405] Urlay Nook: (BLN 1321.164) When our visiting group arrived here on 8 Feb, they were surprised
to find the road already closed to traffic (a month earlier than expected) with contractors at work. The
boom gates are still in use but they are now swung only to protect the workers from passing trains!
406] Morpeth: Although shown as available in the latest 12 Mar 2016 Sectional Appendix, the Down
Sidings north of Down P2 have been heavily overgrown with trees and vegetation for several years.
407] Tees Yard: From 10 Feb DBC's Wagon Repairs Depot (very much in use with direct access from
Arrivals Line 1&2) was to be disconnected from the Loco Line and associated signalling recovered.
408] Otterington: (BLN 1321.171) The former station was Grade II listed as recently as July 2018.
409] Cutsyke (Castleford): With the closure of Urlay Nook (BLN 1322.284) from 9 Mar, this will be the
only surviving signal box equipped with the motorised boom gates introduced by the former British
Railways North Eastern Region in the early 1960s. The former Cutsyke Jn is where the North Eastern
Railway (NER) curve, opened 1 Apr 1880 from Castleford NER station (renamed Castleford Central
15 Sep 1952 and then Castleford from 20 Feb 1969), joined the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (L&YR)
line, opened 1 Oct 1849 from Methley Jn (MAP BELOW, middle left) to Pontefract Monkhill (off
bottom right). The L&YR station (Castleford Cutsyke from 15 Sep 1952, OP Mar 1850; CP 7 Oct 1968)
was a short distance west of Cutsyke Jn. The line from Methley Jn CP 7 Oct 1968 and was taken out of
use on 23 Feb 1981. Being the earlier line, this had the straight alignment at Cutsyke Jn but its route is
now invisible from the crossing due to trees that have grown since its closure. Although no longer a
junction, the box survives because it controls a level crossing. However, the L&YR box was destroyed
or seriously damaged by fire, so was replaced in 1975 by the present one. The box works Track Circuit
Block (TCB) with train describer to Castleford box and TCB with single stroke bell to Prince of Wales
Colliery box (Pontefract Monkhill). There were intermediate boxes towards Prince of Wales Colliery,
at Glasshoughton West (58m 39ch) & East (58m 10ch), controlling access to Glasshoughton Colliery
and Coking Plant. After their abolition during the 1960s, this function was taken over by Cutsyke Jn.
ABOVE: A Knottingley to Leeds train via Castleford (reverse) on the crossing (John Cowburn).
The level crossing is next to a road junction where a busy access road to industrial premises joins the
main road (which runs east-west, at an oblique angle to the railway, which runs south east-northwest)
immediately west of the crossing. This makes the crossing an uneven shape, with a much greater
length of gate required to protect the railway on the south west side of the line than on the northeast
side when the gates are closed to the road. As a consequence, there are three boom gates at the
crossing rather than just the normal two. When these are open to the road, the situation is as follows:
(i): Two gates on the south side of the road, parallel to it. (ii): Only one on the north side of the road,
at an angle to it and almost at right angles to the railway. In the current timetable there is one train an
hour in each direction for most of the day (Leeds - Castleford (reverse) - Knottingley). These are due to
pass each other near Glasshoughton station (OP 21 Feb 2005 near the site of the eponymous colliery),
a couple of miles towards Pontefract. If the two trains are both on time, the gates may therefore be
closed only once an hour.
However, the signallers appear to do their best to open the gates briefly between the trains if possible,
to avoid traffic building up on the very busy road. There do not appear to be any plans at present to
replace the gates and upgrade the crossing. Certainly the presence of the busy adjacent junction, the
heavy traffic on the main road and the distinct skew of the crossing would make it a challenging and
expensive exercise. However, as at Urlay Nook, the boom gates are probably near the end of their life,
so that some form of replacement will be needed before too long.
BELOW: The gates and signal box on 15 Dec 1996 looking towards Knottingley (Angus McDougall).
ABOVE: The now unusual motorised boom gates at Cutsyke mounted on tyres (John Cowburn).
410] ...and I'll take the low road: (BLN 1322.280, 1320.60) Or perhaps not! A member parked his car
at Yarm station (free parking) on a recent Sunday and took the 15.00 train to York, where there was
time for a coffee or pint, even a fast food meal, before the 16.38 back to Yarm both via Boroughbridge
Road. He points out that, alighting at Thirsk instead, there are two pubs by the station (one each side;
but the station is over a mile from the town) where the 90 minutes should be ample for Sunday lunch.
Perhaps he was lucky as another member found that the routing of the TPE 14.47 SuO Manchester
Airport to Middlesbrough cannot be relied upon if there is late running. Running nine minutes late at
Thirsk on 3 Feb, it was unfortunately a case of 'You'll take the high road', but maybe not 'And I'll be in
Middlesbrough afore ye'. On 10 Feb, it was on time and went by the booked route. So, caveat gricer!
411] The Ups and Downs of Gricing: (BLN 1322.285) Down trains booked non-stop via Darlington P4B
sometimes use the Down Main (station avoider). A member took the 13.19 Manchester Airport to
Newcastle twice in Nov 2018. Once it ran via the station, but the other time it took the avoiding line as
late running trains occupied both through platforms. One hopes that members doing Northallerton to
Sunderland during the Bowesfield diversions will be lucky. The sectional running times seem to be
calculated for trains to run directly. When they go via Darlington station as booked, they will lose time.
412] Hull Trains (1): NR proposes to install 'Packet 44 Coded Eurobalises' north of Doncaster for
'Automatic Power Change Over' on Class 800 bi-mode units running to and from Hull. A balise is an
electronic beacon or transponder placed between the rails as part of an automatic train protection
system. The French word 'balise' is used to distinguish these beacons from other types. They
constitute an integral part of the European Train Control System (ETCS), where they serve as 'beacons'
giving the exact location of a train. A balise complying with ETCS specification is called a Eurobalise.
The choice of power changeover locations allows trains to maximise overhead line electrification
(OHLE) use in relation to the 'Limit and Start of Electrification' points. There are two primary power
changeover processes: electric to diesel and diesel to electric. At a given location the changeover may
be completed dynamically, with the train running at speed, or with the train standing at a station.
Performing the changeovers automatically using Eurobalises, both types require a 'Control Balise' to
trigger the normal process. The 'Control Balise' contains 'Packet 44 telegram data', used by the train to
command the process steps for the changeover. For electric to diesel, there is also 'End of OHLE
Protection', to cover changeover triggered by the 'Control Balise' failing in some way with the
pantograph not lowering. The End of OHLE Protection is intended to ensure the pantograph is in the
required state prior to the overhead line running out. It comprises lineside signage, requiring the
driver to manually intervene if the pantograph has not lowered, and a further Eurobalise to command
an immediate changeover/pantograph lowering, termed a 'Zero Balise'.
At Temple Hirst Jn dynamic 'at speed' Automatic Power Change Over (APCO) for electric to diesel is
used, with a 'Control balise'. End of OHLE Protection is provided by lineside signage and a 'Zero Balise'.
The power change from electric to diesel north of Doncaster, at Marshgate Jn, is a static 'Manual
Power Change Over' managed by the driver, that has End of OHLE Protection with lineside signage and
a 'Zero Balise'. Going south, APCO for diesel to electric is used at Temple Hirst, with a 'Control Balise'
raising the pantograph within a dedicated OHLE contact zone. The 'Packet 44 coded Eurobalises' have
been installed in the 'four-foot' at Temple Hirst Jn and Doncaster Marshgate Jn to allow testing to be
undertaken by Hitachi Rail. This all goes to show that nothing is ever simple on the railways!
413] Hull Trains (2): Meanwhile, due to Class 180 Adelante problems, after staff training, an ex-GWR
5-car HST with power cars 43010 & 43190 began running Fri 15 Feb with the 08.23 Hull to King's Cross.
414] Blyth & Tyne: (BLN 1314.2103) On 8 Feb the Secretary of State for Transport travelled by train
from Morpeth to Bedlington and Newsham and return. [Presumably he didn't need Newsham to
Benton Jn then?] He said that better commuter links are a 'no-brainer' as he took a closer look at the
proposals. The Northumberland line proposal is one of about six projects in the country 'where there is
a really good opportunity in the short term to bring back into service stations and lines that were lost
to passengers in the days of Dr Beeching'. He continued: 'The point about this one is it not only
provides much better commuting links into Newcastle, it also brings transport back to communities
along the coast that have lost it and will really benefit from it. It will help generate economic activity
and jobs in places like Blyth, so I'm looking forward to the final proposals coming forward. I think this
is a really strong candidate.'
The estimated cost is about £190M and the council is keen to tap into government funding, such as the
Transforming Cities Fund, to support the scheme.' The Government's spending a huge amount of
money in and around our cities,' Mr Grayling said. 'The Transforming Cities Fund is well over £1bn for
about a dozen of our leading cities so there is finance there for a project like this. I'm waiting to see
the proposal to spend that money wisely in this area.'
The County Council leader said: 'I think this could be transformational for southeast Northumberland.
We've seen in the rest of Tyneside the benefit of having a Metro system but Northumberland has
really missed out so far. This is our one opportunity to get access to passenger rail so people can have
easy and accessible transport and reduce the congestion on our roads. If you look at the billions of
pounds being spent on HS2 and other projects in the south of England, in government terms this is
chicken feed. We have the plan, the business case and the need, so we just need to get on with it.'
Councillors are being asked to approve about £3.46M to develop the next steps in Blyth & Tyne
passenger service reintroduction. The aim is an outline business case and proposal for detailed design
submission by late 2019, with services planned to start in three years. It is thought there could be over
800,000 annual return journeys by 2038. (Modern Railways Feb 2018, p56, had a very good article.)
415] The Northallerton Avoiding Line, a WWII Emergency Connection (BLN 1322.280) By our member
John McCrickard. Other articles in this series have described connections that were built and actually
used for wartime traffic. However, one that holds the distinction of NEVER being used for its intended
purpose was that constructed by the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) at Northallerton in 1941.
Northallerton station is strategically located on the main East Coast route (ECML) between London
and Edinburgh, at the intersection of the former Leeds Northern (LNR) main line from Leeds to
Stockton via Harrogate. (The Northallerton to Harrogate section closed to through traffic in 1967).
Additionally, there was the branch through Wensleydale to Hawes (closed beyond Redmire in 1964),
which joins the ECML by a (latterly triangular) junction about one mile north of Northallerton station.
In the vicinity of Northallerton station, the ECML runs on an embankment which includes several
underline bridges. One of these is used by the LNR, running at a lower level, to cross under the ECML.
The two routes were connected by a series of junctions (see map with BLN 1322.280).
The ECML southwards to York had been the focus of substantial investment in the early 1930s with
track quadrupling and colour light resignalling. In spring 1937 the LNER contracted with the
Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co for £100,000 to resignal the Northallerton to Darlington section.
Northallerton was given a new power signal box with an ultra-modern 'route relay signal interlocking'
system and panel (controlling 129 different routes). With new boxes at Eryholme (20-lever mechanical
frame and signal switch control panel) and Darlington South (155 miniature-lever power frame),
eleven existing mechanical boxes were superseded over 14 route miles. The resignalling was
completed in four stages during the warm summer of 1939, culminating with the commissioning of
Northallerton box on Sun 3 Sep 1939 - the day war was declared with Germany!
During the 'phoney war' lasting until May 1940, the Railway Executive Committee (REC), in conjunction
with the four main line companies and the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB), were actively
considering and implementing various new works foreseen as essential for wartime operating.
Estimated at £935,000 on the ECML, they were all brought into use between Aug 1942 and Sep 1943.
Apart from all this, the War Office (WO) was concerned with protecting so-called vulnerable points
(yards, junctions, bridges, etc) on the railways. The ECML at Northallerton demonstrated a risk of
complete blockage should any of the underline bridges be destroyed by air attack, with untold
consequences to vital traffic flow. Accordingly, the WO Director of Transportation, Colonel Waghorn,
asked the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT) on 21 Jul 1940 to investigate urgently the construction of
an emergency connection between the LNR and ECML at Northallerton to by-pass the latter should
the necessity arise. From the MoWT to the REC, thence to the LNER's Chief General Manager, Charles
Newton, who by 19 Aug produced detailed proposals for what was referred to as 'the avoiding line'.
After consultation with the REC, the MoWT approved construction on 2 Oct 1940 within the LNER's
estimate of £20,266. A LNER Emergency Board meeting at York on 28 Nov 1940 authorised the line;
the next, on 9 Jan 1941 sanctioned the land purchase, and work began the same month.
One of the first jobs was to reroute the power signalling cables between Northallerton and Ainderby
on the Hawes branch south curve where the avoiding line would cross by the bogie bridge (see below).
This was done on Sun 9 Feb 1941; the following Sunday saw the Engineer in possession of the ECML for
the day at Castle Hills, to lay the new junction. The line was complete and ready for use in June 1941,
York issuing instructions for working the line on the 23rd of that month.
The avoiding line, 960 yards (44 chains) long commenced at a junction with the LNR just north of
Romanby Gates level crossing, and ran mainly on a low embankment of tipped ash, with a constant
gradient towards Castle Hills of 1 in 140. After 11ch, the Willow Beck was crossed by a 22ft span
underbridge of timber beams (from dismantled coal staiths) resting on brick and concrete abutments.
At 23ch the Hawes branch south curve was crossed. The difference in levels [believed to be about 4ft
or less - Regional Editor] gave neither sufficient clearance for a permanent overbridge for the branch,
nor a level crossing, so an ingenious solution was devised by the York engineer's office.
The bridge had two 17ft skew spans, each made from two 22" deep rolled steel joists supporting the
branch rails, and connected by cross members. The whole rested on concrete abutments with an
intermediate pier in the 'six foot' of the avoiding line. Beneath each half-span were placed a pair of
standard platelayer's bogies on 'run-off' rails, interlaced with, but 1½" higher than the avoiding line
running rails. Removal of the bridge, half-span at a time, could be done easily and quickly by raising
each half-span clear of the abutments by using a screw-jack mounted on each bogie. The bogies with
their loads could then be pushed a short distance along the run-off rails, crossing the running lines by
using removable 'jumper' crossing rails, and then secured in stowage sidings, clear of the running lines.
A further 5ch northwards a minor field-gated level crossing (Springwell Lane) was passed and the
avoiding line, dead straight so far, entered a gentle right hand curve to join the ECML at Castle Hills.
Associated with the avoiding line were emergency platforms just south of Romanby Gates level
crossing, on the site of the original LNR Northallerton Low station (CP 1901). Included in the overall
cost of the line they were meant to be used if Northallerton station itself was out of action. The 784ft
platforms were economically built of ash-surfaced earth filling, retained by corrugated iron/sleeper
revetments secured by vertical scrap rail pieces bent over at the top to support platform edges of old
sleepers. Shelters were built with old rails and corrugated iron sheets; simple oil lamps were provided.
The avoiding line was equipped with emergency mechanical semaphore signalling, as it would have
been costly and impracticable to modify the colour-light signalling and the Northallerton signal box
installation and control panel with the urgency required. Besides, any emergency necessitating the use
of the avoiding line might in any case have knocked out or damaged the colour-light signalling in the
station area and northwards to Eryholme. Fortunately the mechanical signal boxes closed under the
1939 scheme at Castle Hills, Wiske Moor and Danby Wiske were still intact, it is believed with their
lever frames, and so could be adapted to work in an emergency as block posts controlling home and
distant semaphore signals in each direction, and the points in their immediate vicinity. The next signal
box north, the new one at Eryholme, would also work as a block post to Danby Wiske. Additionally,
the existing gate box at Romanby Gates was modified to work as a block post in an emergency,
controlling access to the south end of the avoiding line; Castle Hills controlling the north end.
Should the envisaged emergency arise, the Northallerton Stationmaster was entrusted with
implementing the arrangements to commission the line and advising 'by the most expeditious means'
York Central Control and Darlington District Control. He was to call out the Chief Lineman and his gang
who would actually bring the line into use in stages, as follows:
❶ Working of Hawes traffic over the branch south curve suspended and sent via Castle Hills. (Electric
tablet single-line working is instituted between Castle Hills and Ainderby instead of 'tokenless' block).
❷ Red flag and light to be exhibited at Signal N23 leading to branch south curve; three detonators to
be placed and a single rail removed.
❸ All colour-light signals and power points to be isolated at the specially provided disconnection box.
❹ Castle Hills Signal Box: 'Out of Use' crosses removed from the emergency semaphores; points and
bars 12, 14, 15, 23 & 24 are connected to box; avoiding line points 7 & 8 to be unspiked. The Annett's Key
from the Branch Sidings Ground Frame is removed and then used to unlock the signal box lever frame.
❺ Castle Hills Inner Junction [later Northallerton West Jn - Regional Editor]: Branch points to be
spiked for the Castle Hills direction; West Siding Ground Frame released by electric tablet.
❻ Romanby Gates Gate Box: 'Out of use' crosses to be removed from avoiding line semaphore
signals; box to be worked as full block post for duration of emergency.
❼ Wiske Moor Signal Box: 'Out of use' crosses removed from semaphore signals; Up Slow and Down
Slow points connected to box; Annett's Keys (2 off) from ground frame to be removed and used to
unlock box lever frame.
❽ Danby Wiske Signal Box: 'Out of use' crosses removed from semaphore signals; Annett's Keys
(1 each) from North and South ground frames removed and used to unlock box lever frame.
❾ Bogie bridge spans run-off to spur sidings; 'jumper' crossing rails removed clear of avoiding line,
allowing swing chocks attached to them by short chains to be locked across spur sidings by Annett's
Keys, preventing removal of bridge sections; the two Annett's Keys thereby released taken to Castle
Hills signal box and used to unlock block circuits to Romanby Gates signal box.
❿ Thus the avoiding line is then ready for use by reversal of points 7 & 8 at Castle Hills and 3 & 5 at
Romanby Gates. Resumption of normal working would be obtained by reversing the above stages.
Though the line was ready for use (if needed) from June 1941, the official MoWT inspection was not
undertaken until 6 November the same year, when Major Wilson visited the site. His report a few days
later confirmed 'that the new works are complete for their purpose, and…. careful plans have been
drawn up and rehearsed for bringing them into use at very short notice, and I recommend that they be
approved'. The report noted that removal and stowage of the bogie bridge could be accomplished in
as little as 12 minutes! Unusually, REC and Railway & Canal Historical Society (RCHS) documents record
an official completion date of 19 Dec 1941, although it is likely that this was for administrative or
accounting purposes. In passing, it is worth commenting on how the initial urgent requirement to
construct the line (in July 1940) seemingly diffused with time - no doubt due to the victorious outcome
of the Battle of Britain and the passing of the threat of intensive air attack.
Fortunately, the avoiding line was never needed 'in anger' and it lay quietly rusting away until peace
was restored, whereupon the LNER immediately sought approval to recover the valuable permanent
way and signalling equipment, then in short supply and urgently needed for renewals elsewhere.
Sanction for this was given by the post-war Ministry of Transport on 1 Mar 1947, and the line was
dismantled by the end of the year. The site of the bogie bridge on the Hawes branch south curve was
infilled and the embankment restored in 1948. The curve itself was not closed to traffic until 17 May
1970, after which all remaining freight traffic was worked via Castle Hills and the north branch curve.
Surprisingly, the emergency platforms at Romanby Gates survived for many years, until at least the
1960s, for use by passenger trains diverted from the East Coast via Teesside for engineering work. The
other significant event at Northallerton, on Sun 15 Apr 1990, was closure of the 1939 signalbox, area
control passing to the new generation York 'Integrated Electronic Control Centre' as part of the East
Coast electrification project. In turn this closed from 27 Dec 2018 with control moved to York ROC.
Few tangible signs of the avoiding line now
remain on the ground or on maps. The formation
of the Hawes south branch curve remains, but
the site of the bogie bridge is indiscernible. Most
of the avoiding line embankment has been
ploughed out, although it is intact north of the
branch curve as a farmers' track to Springwell
Lane, beyond which the formation to Castle Hills
has been colonised by young trees. The
abutments of Willow Beck underbridge are
intact, however, whereas the site of the
emergency platforms has been completely
obliterated by track re-canting and deep
416] Sheffield not-so-Super Tram train: The
system suffered two separate OHLE issues on 31
Jan. Service was suspended from very early in
the morning on the Tram-Train route after the
first trams of the day failed on the shared
Supertram/NR infrastructure due to rime* on
the overhead line and the consequent arcing at
the pantograph. [*Ice is usually caused by
freezing rain, but rime by freezing water vapour.]
Stagecoach Supertram tweeted at around 13.00
that power had been restored and that...
'We are currently recovering the tram trains that have been stranded during the earlier disruption.
Once they have been brought back to the depot and checked, we hope to resume services later today.'
Two trams were observed coupled around lunchtime. A conversation between a member and a
Supertram employee revealed that one of the trams was stranded for several hours and probably had
passengers on board at this point, as there was no safe walking route for them to be evacuated. In the
end it took almost 4½ hours for these checks to take place; the service between Cathedral and
Rotherham Parkgate didn't resume until about 17.30.
Meanwhile, further power supply issues were experienced on the Blue route beyond Gleadless
Townend towards Halfway, with severe delays reported from shortly after 09.00. For a time trams
were able to run from Malin Bridge to Donetsk Way and from Beighton Drake House to Halfway.
Later on the service was running only between Malin Bridge and Birley Lane. After the maintenance
team arrived, trams from Malin Bridge were diverted to Herdings Park until a full service resumed
shortly after 15.00. Interestingly, trams were using only the outbound platform at Birley Lane via the
emergency crossover (PREVIOUS PAGE BOTTOM LEFT: In the mist and ice - Chris Booth) there in
passenger service on departure. Naturally our members took advantage.
Station now after now after 417] More Morley platforms: NR is to
Mytholmroyd P1 119 133 P2 114 133 lengthen platforms as shown (LEFT); current
Sowerby Bridge P1 118 132 P2 108 128 and proposed distances are in yards.
Brighouse P1 121 128 P2 106 130 418] Redcar British Steel: (BLN 1322.28)
A member points out that there is an easy
Bradford Interchange P3 130 138 P4 113 138 'back-door' method of not closing a station
whose access has been blocked, without
Morley P1 124 128 P2 124 128
having to worry about passengers being trapped. Simply stop just one train a week (shades of the
nearby Teesside Airport) and make it pick-up only! Normally, the first train on a Sunday will run in
daylight all year so then there is no need for station lighting either. If the inaccessibility is caused by a
third party, that is not the fault of the railway industry.
Our correspondent is reminded of a closure proposal for a number of stations in rural Wales over 30
years ago. An intrepid traveller decided that he would visit one of them and walk to the adjacent
station across the fields. So he asked the train crew to drop him off at what was a request stop.
They were somewhat intrigued because they had never had to stop there before, but acceded anyway.
He found that the only way off the platform was via an overgrown footpath. About 300yd further on
he came to a locked gate, on the other side of which was a bull taking an intense interest in him!
He decided discretion was the better part of valour, retraced his steps to the station and flagged down
the next train. The driver was so surprised to see him that he was unable to stop in time and had to set
back. The station subsequently closed but unfortunately our correspondent cannot remember which it
was. [Abertafol or Gogarth possibly on the Cambrian Coast line past Dovey Junction - Ed?]
1323 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
419] Staveley: This Windermere branch station recently had a new ticket machine installed weighing
half a tonne. It was too heavy to be carried up the steps to the platform, so was delivered by rail (SX?).
420] NR's Red Lines: Red lines have been drawn by NR on Manchester Piccadilly P13 & 14. They are a
couple of feet further back from the platform edge than the previous yellow lines, which remain.
NR staff rigorously enforce passengers keeping behind the red line. The area behind them is referred
to as 'The Red Zone' where passengers are told to remain. The area outside the red lines, including
near the stairs, is 'The Yellow Zone', which passengers are told to stay out of. Once allowed out of the
Red Zone, passengers are told to use 'all available doors' to board the train, difficult if travelling alone!
This rather bleak island platform had already been made bleaker by removal of waiting rooms etc.
421] Carlisle: The Cumbrian Railways Association (CRA) https://goo.gl/nrCLVu reports that a special
ceremony took place at 11.00 on 31 Oct 2018 in the 301 Miles Café/Bar on P4 when a commemorative
plaque was unveiled by Capt Chris Smith, Royal Navy Regional Commander for Scotland and Northern
Ireland, and Philip Tuer, CRA Chairman to commemorate the part that Carlisle played in the running of
the 'Jellicoe Express' during WWI and II. This train ran between London Euston and Thurso calling
nightly at Carlisle. On its over 21 hour, 717 mile journey, the train carried military personnel, supplies
and mail between southern England and the Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow. Informally named after
the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, who commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in
1916, these trains carried an estimated total of half a million military personnel in both World Wars.
Plaques are being put up at Euston Crewe, Perth, Hawick (? - Ed), Galashiels, Edinburgh and Thurso.
422] Cumbria: Between now and spring, £1.2M of upgrades will be delivered at Barrow-in-Furness,
Sellafield, Whitehaven, Workington, Burneside, Staveley and Windermere stations. They include:
●Better seating and waiting areas. ●Improved toilet facilities. ●New customer information screens.
423] Workington - Whitehaven: A landslip blocked the Up line (cliff side/to Barrow) between
Harrington and Parton North Jn at 09.15 on 8 Feb. Temporary single line working was in operation.
424] Stockport: (BLN 1322.294) The non-Stockport stoppers mentioned are to accommodate the
10.55 (SSuX) Knowsley to Wilton (which passes Stockport P4 at 13.42) and 11.53 (SO) Knowsley to
Tees Yard (Stockport P4 14.41) trains of compacted household waste. Also booked non-stop through
Stockport are 07.29 (SSuX) Alderley Edge to Manchester Piccadilly, stopping at Cheadle Hulme,
Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme - it passes Stockport P4 at 07.43, presumably to avoid delaying the
06.21 from Chester which terminates in P4 three minutes later at 07.46.
The 07.51 (SSuX) Hazel Grove to Piccadilly, newly introduced in December, passes Stockport P4 08.01
non-stop because it is just two minutes ahead of the 07.49 (SuX) Alderley Edge to Wigan NW service.
Not to be outdone Virgin Trains 18.57 ThFO Euston to Manchester Piccadilly only calls at Crewe,
passing Stockport P3 at 21.01, three minutes ahead of a stopping Buxton to Piccadilly train. Finally the
15.58 (SO) Stoke-on-Trent to Piccadilly passes Stockport P3 at 16.40 to accommodate the 10.00 (SO)
Hardendale to Guide Bridge aggregate train. The current timetable has also introduced other oddities
in the form of trains booked to call at Deansgate and Piccadilly but not at Oxford Road!
425] Flixton: OP 1 Oct 1873. The original iron footbridge survives. The goods yard is now a car park.
The station building was destroyed by fire in 1998 (at the time in use as a restaurant) and was
demolished in 2001. A portable style building on the road bridge above the station replaced it and is
only open mornings. There is no ticket vending and train information is via a telephone.
426] Chassen Road: OP 10 Sep 1934. The station has a very small ticket office on the road bridge at the
entrance to P1 for Manchester. It is open weekday mornings 06.55 to 10.00. There is no ticket
machine. Each platform has a small covered waiting area and step-free access from the road via
ramps. Train running information is via a telephone. Only some stopping trains call at Chassen Road,
roughly every two hours each way with extra services calling during the peaks, but none on Sundays.
Adjacent to, and visible from, P1 (for Manchester) is Urmston & District Model Engineering Society in
Abbotsfield Park. There is a 3½/5" gauge elevated 2,200ft circuit around the park.
427] Urmston: OP 2 Sep 1873. The original station building on the Liverpool platform survives and
after years of dereliction now houses 'The Steamhouse' pub restaurant, which opened during 2008.
An original Cheshire Lines Committee water fountain features on the wall of this building. The original
building on the Manchester platform is now demolished and a new building houses the ticket office
and waiting room. The ticket office is only open in the morning except on Sundays.
428] Manchester: Greater Manchester Combined Authority's Draft Delivery Transport Plan 2020-2025
(BLN 1321.183) also had some longer term objectives including:
> More rail electrification to reduce emissions and increase capacity. [So Bolton hasn't put them off!]
> Improved connections from the Airport to the South.
> Further increased rail network capacity in the regional centre.
> A new Metrolink stop at Sandhills (just out of the city centre).
> Metrolink extensions to Port Salford/Salford Stadium, Stalybridge, Middleton (via Bowker Vale), a
...link between MediaCityUK and Salford Crescent and the Manchester Airport Western Leg.
> Either Metrolink or Tram-Train lines between Rochdale and Bury (potentially via part of the East
...Lancs Railway), on the Atherton line, the CLC line to Warrington, Cornbrook to Manchester Airport
...via Timperley, Hazel Grove, Stockport to Manchester Airport, Marple line and the Hadfield line.
> Longer Metrolink tram vehicles.
> A city centre Metrolink tram tunnel. [Shades of British Rails' 1970s cancelled Pic-Vic Tunnel scheme.]
429] Ormskirk: The normally reliable Merseyrail network had more than its fare share of problems
recently. As well as issues that affect all train operators such as train and infrastructure faults, the
recent cold snap caused major disruption. Those participating in our 18 Jan 2015 tour can testify the
network can suffer under certain conditions if ice forms on the third rail, but the icing on the cake was
that all the track was done and the tour finished on time! Meanwhile, back in 2019, on the evening of
22 Jan ice and snow hit the region. Services carried on but with delays as trains struggled to reach line
speed. The final Ormskirk train (23.47 from Liverpool Central) lost power in the rural area between
Maghull North and Town Green. Due to the location and weather an evacuation was not considered.
It was just under three hours after leaving Liverpool Central before sufficient repairs were made for
the stricken train and its passengers, who apparently despite their ordeal were none the worse, to
return to Maghull North. As the line to Town Green is a rising gradient it was felt prudent to set back!
Next day services were again disrupted for most of the morning. No trains ran north of Formby or
Aintree and south of Hooton. Few road vehicles could be obtained either. To add to the fun a route
proving train spent much of the day frozen to the third rail at Overpool. Throughout this spell the
usual route proving and Network Rail Multipurpose Vehicle (MPV) trains ran. Somewhat ironically
then, in the comparative tropics of Liverpool Central on the early afternoon of 31 Jan, the MPV failed
in P2 on the Northern Line. Despite best efforts it wouldn't move so only Ormskirk and Kirkby trains
ran through to Central via P1. As there is no facing crossover from Hunts Cross, Southport services ran
only to Sandhills. Eventually, after much head scratching at top levels, a GBRf Class 66 was summoned
to tow away the errant MPV but it was well after 19.00 when services began to return to normal.
Passengers were kept well away from the Northern Line platforms at Central during the rescue.
430] Manchester Victoria: 1 Apr 2019 is the 175th anniversary of opening as a through station (the
Liverpool & Manchester Railway joined the Manchester & Leeds who had 'arrived' on 1 Jan 1844).
431] Bolton: Electric passenger trains finally started on Mon 11 Feb, 27 months later than originally
envisaged. The first was 05.23 Blackpool North to Manchester Piccadilly with EMU 319368 (which
formed the 07.31 return). The first northbound train was 07.01 Piccadilly to Preston.
The first EMU via Bolton and Salford Central was 06.34 Blackpool North to Manchester Victoria,
which formed the return 08.05 to Buckshaw Parkway. That became the 09.09 Buckshaw Parkway to
Victoria, the first electric train to use Buckshaw Parkway crossover in passenger service.
The Victoria to Buckshaw Parkway and return service is an interesting one for microgricers. Firstly, at
Salford Crescent it is booked into bidirectional P1 (usually the Manchester bound platform) to allow
an Airport to Barrow service to pass via P2. Before these trains started P1 was used northbound fairly
often during disruption but there was no booked use. Next, it uses Bolton P5 before continuing to
Buckshaw Parkway. The return working uses the crossover there in service on departure.
432] Hadfield line: Over £1.5M of DfT money will be spent improving the stations at Glossop, Dinting,
Broadbottom, Hattersley, Godley, Newton for Hyde, Flowery Fields, Guide Bridge and Ashburys.
Upgrades include: ●Improved signage and walkways. ●Better lighting and painting. Additional money
will fund better seating, waiting areas and new customer information screens at Glossop station.
A disused building in Guide Bridge station will also be refurbished for the NHS or community use.
433] Blackburn: A break during a recent railtour allowed a look around the station. A new departure
board and ticket machines take up part of the foyer. A large Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway crest
and several black and white photographs of the station in yesteryear adorn the walls.
434] Bootle: The railway bridge over the Leeds & Liverpool Canal was redecked during the recent
(18 to 22 Feb) Southport line closure for platform adjustments to take the new Merseyrail rolling
stock. The bridge deck was removed and a 1,000 tonne capacity crane used to install a new deck.
1323 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
435] Sheringham: The present basic 'temporary' platform OP 2 Jan 1967; previously BR Norwich
services terminated at the present North Norfolk Railway station west of the level crossing. Greater
Anglia's new bi-mode fleet is of 3 and 4-car trains so the platform is to be rebuilt, increasing its length
from 44yd to 87yd. The new £1M platform will be wider with improved lighting and a new shelter.
Since the mid-1990s passenger journeys on the Sheringham branch have grown from 200,000 a year
to over 680,000 in 2017/18. This follows improvements, including more frequent trains and station
enhancements, combined with proactive promotion from successive train operators and the Bittern
Line Community Rail Partnership. The work takes place from Sun 31 Mar until Sun 5 May with services
terminating at Cromer. West Runton and Sheringham will be served by buses during this period.
BELOW: Norwich train at Sheringham in Oct 1971 when there was no track between the two stations
there; knowing British Rail it is likely that the sign was from the previous station (Ian Mortimer).
436] Great Yarmouth: (BLN 1322.307) The annotation to the landscape maps of the LNER's two 1943
plans for development of the railway network was correct but in the text 'Plan B is a cheaper option
with Central station….' should have referred to 'Plan A' of course. With your BLN Editor's apologies,
this was due to reformatting the plans to make them clearer but forgetting that consequential change.
437] Lowestoft: (TRACKmaps Book 2 p8A - Oct 2016) From 18 Feb the existing connection from the
west end of the sidings trailing into the Up Main was to be completely renewed but remain OOU. Its
ground frame (22m 77ch) was to be abolished. Certain hand points in the western end of Lowestoft
sidings were to be removed and temporary rail stops provided. This confirms a future for rail freight
capability at Lowestoft Inner Harbour North Quay. Whether traffic develops is another matter.
438] Amersham - Beaconsfield: It is always pleasing to see lateral thinking by train operators when
specifying substitute bus routes. Some instances were given at BLN 1322.335, and to that list can be
added this bus link provided by Chiltern Railways when the line blockage is south of Amersham.
439] Stevenage: (BLN 1318.2617) The consultation period for track to a new bay P5 is over but a
representative of Network Rail LNE & EM Strategy and Planning states that it is unable to establish the
Network Change for the moment based on a response received. The reason has not been given.
440] Cowley branch: NR is consulting on altering the branch boundary with land leased to a car
manufacturer at Morris Cowley. (The former Austin Rover area on TRACKmaps 2nd edition reduced to
the run round from the 3rd edition, southwest of the present Cowley.) TRACKmaps Western & Wales
6th edition p14A shows the boundary at 16m 05ch (miles from Princes Risborough). NR records it as at
16m 01ch (with the loop crossover on the NR side) and wishes to cut it back towards Kennington Jn to
16m 07ch. On TRACKmaps and with the proposed new NR boundary, this crossover to the run round
loop and cripple siding would be on the non-NR side of the boundary and classified as 'out of use' for
later recovery. This site has been leased for some time to a car manufacturer. Agreement has been
reached for a sale of the leased area to the existing lease holder which suits both parties. This is part of
NR's plan to raise £1.8bn from the sale of redundant assets to help finance rail investment.
441] Felixstowe: (BLN 1322.313) GB Railfreight has launched an additional intermodal service from
Birch Coppice terminal. The first train actually ran at 14.54 on Mon 21 Jan via Hams Hall terminal
(09.57/10.42) reaching Felixstowe North 21.02. Made up of '33 platforms', it transports a mixture of
intermodal containers, and initially runs five days a week meaning there are now two scheduled
services each way SSuX. Additional trains can run at weekends. The new service allows Birch Coppice
to accommodate business that previous went via Hams Hall terminal. Regular intermodal rail services
also run from Felixstowe terminals to Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Teesport, Birmingham,
Doncaster, Selby, Hams Hall, Wakefield, Ditton (Widnes), Rotherham and Cardiff.
442] North Cotswold Line: At Hanborough and Charlbury the platform extensions appeared complete
on 5 Feb but were awaiting sign off before they can be used. At Honeybourne the Up side has been
laid at the country end but was closed by barriers for about a coach length. The longer Down side (the
current platform is shorter), still needs some work on the black metal fence sections and perhaps to
the lighting. At Pershore (where there has been much tree cutting on both sides) the London end
platform extension looked finished but was not yet available for use with a barrier across it.
1323 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
443] Lewes: (BLNs 1239.1576 [22 Aug 2015] & 1298.258 [3 Feb 2018]) NEXT PAGE:OS 6" map surveyed
1872/73; revised 1908. SB = Signal Box, SP = Signal Post. Over the years, many people interested in
railways must have looked at maps of Lewes and wondered how on earth such a peculiar layout came
to exist. The answer is certainly not simple! Julian James and Richard Maund have kindly spent a great
deal of time and effort on this and we are particularly indebted to Richard for his research that has
permitted this opening history to be established. ①, ② & ③ are on the LANDSCAPE MAP; an
original map kindly drawn for BLN by Dave Cromarty. Locations underlined are shown on this map,
those not underlined are off it. For those who prefer something a bit simpler go to the final paragraph!
●8 Jun 1846: Brighton - original (1846) Lewes passenger terminal station with one platform at Friars
Walk OP [Railway Magazine (RM) Jan 1950 p44].
●27 Jun 1846: Original junction ①near Pin Well ('Old English' font on LANDSCAPE MAP) - Lewes
East Jn (the future Lewes 'E', later 'C', signal box) - St Leonards (the temporary Bulverhythe station)
OP [RM Jan 1950 p44]. A platform called 'Ham' or 'Southover' was provided (until circa Jan 1848)
slightly west of ①, although some trains reversed in/out of the terminal at Friars Walk.
Colonel Cobb has Lewes West - the future Lewes East Jn (TQ 4227 0964) route convergence as closed
1966/69. In fact Top Yard Ground Frame (virtually junction ① by The Pin Well) - East Yard closed (as
a through route still accessible each end) 3 Oct 1966; East Yard - East (by then 'C' box) CA 6 Jan 1969.
The Pin Well was not on the railway itself but was a well (hence the definite article), abandoned
https://goo.gl/k2JBfQ when the railway opened. The name has been used by G A Nokes (writing as
Sekon) as 'Pinwell' and/or 'Lee' as an unofficial means of 'naming' the first point of junction. It was only
very slightly different from where Top Yard Ground Frame later came to be. https://goo.gl/XMWtCt
(zoom in) helps to show this. It was therefore at or near the future junction.
●28 Aug 1846: Lewes temporary booking office replaced by a 'new handsome building' [RM Jan 1950 p45].
●1 Oct 1847: Keymer Jn - future Uckfield Jn (TQ 4053 1214) (north of Lewes Tunnel) - future 1857
Lewes station - Lewes second junction, ② on map OP [RM Jan 1950 P47]. The latter, in the present car
park north of current P1, was just short of 'Ham'/'Southover' platform. Two new 'Pinwell platforms'
were provided (until 1 Nov 1857) either side of the new through line, east of ①, near the terminus.
Pinwell platforms were described as 'spacious' 310ft long on the Down line (outer curve) and 200ft on
the Up (inner) 'at the back of Mr Godlee's garden wall, near Pinwell'. Overall the station arrangements,
then at three separate locations, were described by one writer as 'some of the worse ever built (sic)'.
The 'Sussex Advertiser' of Tue 7 Sep 1847 reported that this new line (and the Newhaven branch) were
in 'working order' and passenger service had been expected to start on 1 Sep - but were delayed
awaiting Board of Trade (BoT) inspection (which finally happened on 8 Sep). BoT approval was not
needed to open for goods; it is quite likely they were already operating for goods by the date of this
press report - possibly from 1 Sep. (The Sussex Advertiser reported that the line OG by 28 Sep 1847.)
Passenger opening was held back until 1 Oct 1847 as confirmed by press reports [RM Jan 1950 p47].
●8 Dec 1847: Southerham Jn - Newhaven OP (had previously OG as previous item) [RM Jan 1950 p49].
●Circa Jan 1848: Ham/Southover single platform CA. [RM Jan 1950 p49].
●1 Nov 1857: Friars Walk (original station) CP and Pinwell platforms CA.
●1 Nov 1857: The 1857 Lewes station was provided (until 1889) at the divergence of the Keymer Jn
line - [RM Jan 1950 p49]. It had a Swiss chalet style of station building. The 1857 Lewes station Keymer
Jn line platforms were partly in what is now the car park north of the present P1. The Brighton line
platforms were partly in the 'V' between present P2 and P3. Thus the 1857 station and the 1889
station platforms had overlapping footprints; the changeover between the two would be interesting.
●11 Oct 1858: Uckfield Jn* - Hamsey - Uckfield opened [RM Jan 1950 p50]. *(TQ 4053 1214) 1m 4ch
north of Lewes Tunnel north portal (TRACKmaps 49m 49ch). The line ran to Uckfield via Hamsey
(TQ 4151 1278) direct where the track was slewed (but there was never a junction) on opening of the
new 1868 route running to the east end of Lewes station in place of the northwest approach.
●3 Aug 1868: Uckfield Jn - Hamsey CA (original Uckfield route via Lewes Tunnel) [RM Nov 1946 p349].
●3 Aug 1868 [RM Nov 1946 p349] or 1§ Oct 1868 [RM Jan 1950 p51]: Lewes third junction③ via new
bridge over High St - Hamsey (where plain track was slued) opened. From the original junction ①
near the Pin Well - Friars Walk†, just south of the new rail bridge over High Street (TQ 4190 1020), -
Hamsey (TQ 4151 1278) opened. This now allowed through running between Brighton to/from the
Uckfield line without a reversal at Lewes. †This crossed the original Friars Walk terminus site.
§1 Oct was a Thursday and timetable changes usually took place on the 1st of the month in those days.
●17 Jun 1889: Current station OP; the 1857 station was totally rebuilt and remodelled. Possibly from
1 Oct 1889 [Wikipedia but unsubstantiated] passenger services were diverted from the original Lewes
- Southerham Jn loop to the present alignment. The original route was retained for goods trains.
●17 Jun 1889: Original jn ① - just south of High St bridge closed as a through route [RM Jan 1950 p52].
On 18 Jun 1889, most of the 1868 route (near the Pin Well - High St bridge) became part of Friars
Walk Goods Depot. The southern access to the line over the bridge was a new higher level route from
Lewes Main Jn. About 30ch of the approach was closed and abandoned, most was retained for goods.
●17 Jun 1889‡ [RM Jan 1950 p52] or 3 Oct 1889‡ [RM Nov 1946 p349]: Lewes West and South boxes -
realigned platforms of the present station - Lewes East Jn and to just south of High St bridge opened.
Lewes: Slew south of the 1889 station (later South box) - through the 1857 station Brighton line
platforms, (these cut through the site of what became the 1889 station) - site of Pinwell platforms -
Lewes East Jn. Also slew north of the 1889 station (later Lewes West box) - Lewes High St bridge.
The middle section (through what became the 1889 station) was, of course, completely closed to make
way for that new station. Whether this was all accomplished on one day, or involved prior temporary
closure is unclear. One of the two 1889 dates (‡above) in the different issues of RM must be wrong.
●Oct 1934 (complete by May 1935): Lewes tunnel south end (widened) - partway along Down & Loop
platforms: Down Main & Loop platform extended 260ft; Up Main 213ft with slew [RM Jan 1950 P52].
●3 Oct 1966: Friars Walk Goods (TQ 418 102), actually from Top Yard Ground Frame - Lewes East
Yard (TQ 420 101) (excl) CA. Closure to Lewes East Yard (TQ 420 101) is the location described in
BLN 1239.1576 as level with the 'W' in 'Wharf' above the 'Gas Works' in the map (repeated at the start
of this item). The yard itself (landscape map) was nearer East box; the location cited would presumably
have been a north end headshunt for the yard. A British Railways Central Divisional Manager's letter,
23 May 1969, ref CP/C.17360, confirmed this as the date traffic last worked through between Lewes
East ('C' box) and Lewes West ('A' box) boxes via the yard. Note that this closure excluded Friars Walk
Goods Depot itself so its west end was Top Yard Ground Frame and it also excluded the East Yard.
●6 Jan 1969: Lewes East Yard (excl) - Lewes East Jn ('C' Box at the time of closure) CA [Richard Maund].
●24 Feb 1969: Lewes Main Jn (pre-1963 name; Lewes 'B' at closure) - High St bridge - Hamsey - Uckfield
(excl) CA, nominally temporarily; due to the condition of Lewes Viaduct, road transport was provided.
ABOVE: Lewes east end showing all eight platforms; Brighton is off to the left and the Keymer Jn line
is right. P4 & 5 on either side of the single track left of centre were used by the Uckfield line services
until withdrawal in 1969 - that trackbed is now filled in. (Ian Mortimer though to be during 1969.)
●5 May 1969: As previous entry CA (official date); also Lewes West (Lewes 'A' Box at time of closure) -
Friars Walk Goods via ②, ③ & ① CA [Central Divisional Manger's letter 23 May 1969, as above].
This letter stated that Friars Walk Goods CA 5 May 1969 and the line from Lewes 'A' box (the letter
referred to this as Lewes West box, despite renaming in 1963). This closure included the terminal part
of Friars Walk Goods itself, inside Top Yard Ground Frame - with the section retained in the yard post
1889. 'Clinker' has the goods depot date and the location wrong (private sidings on a different site).
BELOW: Lewes [pronounced 'Lewis'] station. (This and next both by Angus McDougall 31 Aug 2013.)
ABOVE: The one and only signal box nowadays is due to close from with resignalling from 7 Mar 2019.
:Simplifier: (Best read with the LANDSCAPE MAP.)
The first Jun 1846 Lewes station was a one platform terminal at Friars Walk for the Brighton line.
From late Jun 1846 to Sep 1889 Brighton - Eastbourne (etc) services ran from the site of the later
Lewes South box - Lewes Jn - Pinwell platforms - the later Lewes East Jn. From Nov 1857 they served
the new passenger station. After Oct 1889 much became part of the through goods line§ bypassing the
station until closed as a through line (Oct 1966). From a date in 1889, Brighton - Eastbourne etc trains
used the present route: Lewes South box - 1889 (current) station - Lewes Main Jn - Lewes East Jn.
From Oct 1847, Keymer Jn to Eastbourne trains ran via Lewes Tunnel, the later Lewes West, Lewes
Jn - Pinwell platforms and the subsequent Lewes East Jn. From Nov 1857 they served the new Lewes
passenger station. They were diverted (Oct 1889?) from Lewes West via the (present) 1889 station,
Lewes Main Jn and Lewes East Jn. Lewes West - Lewes Jn (site) became part of the goods line§ above.
From Oct 1858 Uckfield line trains ran west of Lewes via Lewes Tunnel and the Uckfield Jn - Hamsey
line. From Aug 1886 they ran to Hamsey to/from the east end of Lewes instead (initially from the 1857
station) via the site of Lewes Jn then north. After the 1889 remodelling they ran east from the present
station via Lewes Main Jn and the new 1889 viaduct line until their withdrawal in Feb 1969.
444] Southampton: (BLN 1314.2131) The Southampton Freight Train Lengthening Project to improve
operational flexibility in and out of Western Docks, Maritime East and Maritime West Freightliner
Terminal with increased standage has completed works on and adjacent to the running lines between
Southampton and Redbridge. Commissioning due on 11 and 18 Feb was postponed at short notice.
The works comprise, firstly:
●The Arrival Road (TRACKmaps Nov 2008 p29) and its extension west as the Arrival & Departure
Road (TRACKmaps p30) between Millbrook and Redbridge all to be renamed the Redbridge Goods.
●The Departure Road (p29) between Millbrook and Maritime East Jn, to be Maritime Back Road.
The previous names in the latest TRACKmaps, Book 5 (Nov 2008), are now used to help understanding.
Secondly, the following lines will eventually be resignalled and will become bidirectional:
●The Up Docks Branch between Millbrook East Jn and Western Docks Jn, which is the length
previously for eastbound travel from the convergence with the Departure Road.
●The Down Fast between Millbrook East Jn and near Western Docks Jn.
●The Arrival & Departure Road between Western Docks Jn and Maritime East Jn.
With eventual commissioning, permissible speeds between Southampton and Redbridge will become:
●Arrival & Departure Road Down direction (80m 42ch) - (81m 37ch) increased from 20mph to 30mph.
●Arrival & Departure Road Up direction (81m 38ch) - (80m 42ch) new direction line speed 30mph.
●Arrival & Departure Road (80m 42ch) Up direction to Down Fast (80m 35ch) new direction 20mph.
●Down Fast Up direction (80m 35ch) to (79m 79ch) new direction line speed of 40mph.
New entrance/exit arrangements at the Maritime West Freightliner Terminal will be brought into
use including a new pair of scissors (BLN 1316.2357). They are on the Terminal roads south of, but
not connected to, the Down Main. Also, new points (79m 76ch) on the Down Loop extension at
Millbrook East Jn near Mountbatten Way overbridge (on TRACKmaps), previously installed and
secured OOU, will be brought into use. There is also a new 'trailing' crossover (BLN 1314.2131) west
of the divergence of the Up Docks Branch and Down Docks Branch permitting moves from the
Down Fast to the Up Docks Branch. (Rejection of NR's planning application for additional sidings at
Redbridge to permit 775m long trains in place of a 520m limit was reported in BLN 1288.1867.)
1323 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
445] Electrification: This was to creep further towards Chippenham on Sun 10 Feb, with OHLE
energisation of the Up and Down Main Lines from the previous limit at Wootton Bassett Jn (83m 49ch)
to Christian Malford (93m 31ch). However, it was postponed at short notice but is likely to occur soon.
446] Gillingham (Dorset): ['Gillingham' as in fish 'gills' not 'Jillingham' as in Kent.] A correspondent,
who kindly enclosed a £50 donation for Society funds with his letter (thank you, sir!) asks about the
tunnel between 107m 44ch and 107m 78ch towards Templecombe. The latest (Jun 2015) Baker 14th
Edition has 'Buckhorn Weston Tunnel'; TRACKatlas of Mainland Britain p8C (2017) has 'Gillingham
Tunnel' but TRACKmaps Book 5 p33C (Nov 2008 - latest edition) sits on the fence with 'Buckhorn
Weston or Gillingham Tunnel'. On the ground the tunnel entrance name is nowadays 'Gillingham'
which agrees with the current National Electronic Sectional Appendix (dated 28 Mar 2015). It seems
likely that the tunnel has been renamed; if so, our correspondent wonders when and why please?
[It was 'Gillingham Tunnel' in the Gillingham to Sherbourne 27 Feb 2012 resignalling documents - Ed.]
447] Dawlish (BLN 1317.2505) NR has applied to Teignbridge District Council for planning permission to
improve the long-term resilience of the sea wall. The plans, developed in conjunction with contractors
Arup, propose a new, higher sea wall. Since the closure from 4 Feb until 4 Apr 2014 (over five years ago
now!), NR has undertaken a series of detailed studies which established that maintaining the current
railway route was the most feasible and cost effective solution. Based on these studies, the government
has invested £15M to appoint engineers to undertake detailed marine and geological studies to develop
the long term resilience plans further. These were shared with the local community in October when NR
outlined proposals for three priority areas including a new, higher sea wall at Dawlish.
Work also started in November to repair the breakwaters as part of the scheme. The new sea wall will
provide far more protection from waves and extreme weather and is future-proofed to protect the
railway and the town, taking into account predicted rising sea levels. [Yes, but will CrossCountry be able to
run their trains?] The local community will also benefit from a wider, safer, promenade retaining views of
the coast. NR is now submitting the plans for 'prior approval' under its permitted development rights.
Teignbridge District Council will then formally consult the local community on the proposed designs.
448] Bedminster: NR has announced that the crossovers (119m 40ch) are life expired. With their
renewal the permissible line speed over the Up Main - Up Relief facing crossover will be increased
from 25mph to 40mph. To achieve this it is being slightly repositioned and therefore microgricers will
have a new objective in the Bristol area after the works (scheduled 16/17, 23/24 and 30/31 March).
449] Exeter Riverside Yard (BLN 1315.2246) A full possession is expected from 07.30 on Sat 20 until
18.30 Mon 22 April (Easter) for demolition and reconstruction of the 512yd long flood wall between
the railway and River Exe, part of the scheme to improve railway flood defences. Our 'Looe Brush'
railtour participants saw progress at first hand. Let us hope there is no pre-Easter deluge this year!
450] HSTs, the end is nigh: GWR is now closing in on the finish line for IET introduction. Of the 14
9-car Class 802 sets, the final batch to arrive, the first five are available for passenger service. The final
one, 802114, is due to be available from mid-April. A well placed correspondent advises that the last
scheduled HSTs on the North Cotswold and Worcester - Stroud - Paddington lines were on Fri 15 Feb
and the last scheduled HST from Paddington should be the 21.03 to Plymouth on Fri 17 May. The new
timetable starts on Sun 19 May. This is probably not the place to remind ourselves that the Western
Region of British Rail thought (and announced) that it would be the first region to rid itself of those
dreadful old fashioned steam engines with the withdrawal of passenger services from the Somerset &
Dorset Railway from 3 Jan 1966. They were thwarted by a temporary reprieve due to problems with
replacement bus services and a skeleton steam service ran until final withdrawal from 3 Mar 1966.
451] Weymouth Quay: (BLN 1320.3) Fresh calls are (yet again) being made to bring the defunct
harbour tramway back into use. This comes from the Campaign for Better Transport which is making a
case for railway expansion by reopening or rebuilding old routes. The line is not one of the 33 national
reopening schemes which the group says should be prioritised. However it is listed as a 'Priority 2'
project; said to be 'feasible but requires further development or changed circumstances to assist them
in being taken forward'. There is no detail of how a scheme for Weymouth could be revived or funded,
or if it could involve a regular service to the main line near the station or just a tourist attraction.
1323 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
452] Stechford: The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has praised the work of railway station
volunteers across the region. He recently met with a group of Stechford local station adopters, to learn
about their work and encourage more groups to be involved in their area. Volunteers here, like many
groups across the region, make a real difference, by undertaking activities such as giving the buildings
a lick of paint, installing art works, landscaping the grounds and bringing community presence onto
station platforms. Over the past year, over 20 new adopters joined the West Midlands Railway
scheme, bringing the current total to over 100 across the region. The operator would like to see
community activity at all of their 114 stations, and is encouraging anyone with ideas for their local
station to come forward. Community engagement is backed by the West Midlands Rail Executive.
453] The locals are banking on NR: NR is stabilising the moving Up side cutting embankment on the
line south of Stoke Jn towards Axion Rail Works. Using 'cutting edge technology', a 70m supporting
wall and fencing will be built along the embankment in Mount Pleasant (an interesting place name for
Stoke-on-Trent) to prevent further movement. This has been caused by poor ground conditions which
has resulted in road surface cracking in nearby West Parade. The £700k works take place between
4 Feb and 5 Apr. When the wall is built, NR will resurface the road. Rail services are unaffected.
454] New Street (1): On 27 Jan as part of the New Street Phase 7 Re-signalling; Engine Sidings 2 & 3 (in
front of the signal box) were taken OOU pending recovery of the track, associated signals and OHLE.
They are the short sidings that stabled AC electric and diesel locos when motive power was changed
on through intercity trains at New Street (but have not been used for years now). The points on the
Down Gloucester line providing access to the sidings were secured in the normal position, with signal
routes disconnected. By 13 Feb a sleeper was chained across the entrance and a road/rail vehicle
parked at the end of Siding 3, a temporary barrier was placed alongside to cordon off the work area
from the running lines. (2): (BLN 1322.326) On 11 Feb the 17.39 New Street to Derby was a Voyager
again with the destination 'All Shacks' on the front! On the sides of the carriages it had 'All Stops'.
455] Birmingham, Heartlands Park: This is the redevelopers chosen title for the area in Washwood
Heath, occupied since 1911 by the Midland Railway Carriage & Wagon Co factory (Metro-Cammell
from 1927 and GEC Alstom by the time of its closure after completion of the Virgin Trains Pendolino
order). Despite being at the same level as the nearby Stechford to Aston line, the works was only ever
connected to the ex-Midland Railway Derby to Birmingham line via a steep incline at the western end
in the vicinity of the former Washwood Heath No1 signal box. This short trailing branch, latterly off the
Down Derby Goods, was ground frame controlled. Just a few yards from its divergence after a catch
point, was a train crew worked level crossing over an access road and then the gated NR boundary.
Following closure of the Alstom works in Nov 2005 parts were used by small businesses including rail-
associated ones like Boden Rail for loco storage and maintenance so the branch continued to see use.
It never had a railtour, though advertised to be traversed by two in 2017 neither of which were able
to. The branch did receive a visit by a passenger carrying train in the 1990s, an invitation only special
for Richard Branson's guests to the launch of his Pendolino building programme ran to a temporary
scaffolding platform within the works area. [As usual, it's not what you know, it's who you know!]
Works closure was reportedly due to site acquisition initially for housing by St Modwen developers but
it has since been bought by HS2 for its main stock maintenance and stabling depot. [So there is hope.]
Final rail movements (locos from Boden's to Nottingham Eastcroft) were 29 Jan 2018 (BLN 1289.210).
A correspondent visiting on 26 Jan 2019 found that demolition of buildings had not begun and track
remains in situ on the rail connection but is unusable and blocked by a mound of rubble at the NR
boundary immediately beyond the level crossing.
456] Wolverhampton: Steelwork has recently been erected connecting the north mega-footbridge to
the new station building. Passengers will only need to get wet once now going to P4 instead of twice!
Bay P6 is back in use again by the (SSuX) 06.10 and 06.51 departures to Shrewsbury (BLN 1322.329).
457] Turnback at Worcester! (BLN 1317.2511) Following testing of the new motorised point, signalling
etc and sign off, at last a test light engine (Class 70 70811) arrived at Henwick Turnback Siding (from
Hinksey Sidings) at 21.38 on 11 Feb, returning next morning at 01.48. This was its first use since
recommissioning on 27 Nov 2017. The 'Turnback Siding' is on TRACKmaps Book 3 p15A but comes up
on Realtime Trains in its previous guise of 'URS' or Up Refuge Siding. Hopefully the engine was turned
off due to the proximity of houses and hopefully (unlike elsewhere) said houses will not use it as an Up
Refuse Siding! HSTs are not allowed to use the line due to their doors opening outward and tight
clearances but the days of regular timetabled HST operation in the Worcester area are numbered.
PREVIOUS PAGE BOTTOM: The first use of Henwick Turnback Siding with Henwick Signal Box and
level crossing top right, looking towards Worcester Foregate Street station (Rob Pritchard 1 Feb 2019).
ABOVE: Rob was not the only photographer out late that night - a side view by David Gommersall.
458] Worcester Foregate Street: West Midlands Railway is to invest over £1M improving concourse
and customer facilities. Ticket barriers, a new retail unit, new help points, upgraded digital information
screens, extra ticket machines and a new CCTV system are included. There were 2.2M passengers in
2017-18 and up to 130 trains call daily. https://goo.gl/xWhVwo are provisional plans for consultation
until 1 Mar and a feedback form. YOU can make a difference; final designs will be confirmed later.
459] Worcestershire Parkway: (BLN 1317.2517) Progress is evident on the new station but it is now
expected to be open during the final quarter of the year (rather than in May). The foundations for the
North Cotswold Line high level platform appear complete with some basic surface panels installed at
the west end. They are built onsite away from the railway, then manœuvred onto the foundations.
Impressively, this high level and the two low level (Birmingham - Cheltenham line) platforms will be
290yd long - able to accommodate 10-car IET trains which have 26m long coaches. No work on the low
level platforms is obvious. The main station building is nearing completion and internal fit-out works
have begun. A pedestrian bridge to the platforms is in place, the new highway roundabout installed
and opened to through traffic. Work is well underway on the 500 space car park and access road.
460] Rugeley: (BLNs 1251.398 & 1261.1398) Demolition of the closed power station began in earnest
at 11.00 on 14 Feb when the 'Flue Gas Desulphurisation Plant' (sic) steel ducting was blown up. 2,000
homes are to be built on the site (which is fairly near to Rugeley Town station). It has been reported
that the disused power station branch (traversed by our 7 Oct 2016 'Cliffe Hopper' railtour) will remain
in place for now as there could be potential future use as a railhead or depot/sidings.
X.18] Colwall, ABOVE: A picture only possible until 15 March while the footbridge has gone walkabout
for refurbishment. The 10.22 London Paddington to Hereford calls at 13.13 to pick up one passenger.
Hopefully they will be able to find a seat on 80030 as there are only 362; normally this is a 9-car Class
802 IET train with 655 seats. Looking northeast towards Worcester. (Rob Pritchard 13 Feb 2019.)
461] West Midlands Metro: (BLN 1314.2144) The first section of track (100yd) has been laid on the
Centenary Square to Five Ways extension in Birmingham's Victoria Square by the Town Hall. Trams
continue to turnback in Grand Central arrivals platform using the trailing (Black Country end) crossover
in service on departure. Recently your Treasurer and BLN Editor did this and had no trouble convincing
the conductor they really only wanted to go to Corporation Street (£1 single each) which is all of 12ch.
He said that they were not the first! To eliminate the risk of a road vehicle paralleling a tram
departure, with conflict risk as the tram then crosses over in front of traffic, an automatic gate blocks
the road alongside the out of use departures platform until trams have departed from the other side.
On 11 Feb the headshunt past Grand Central had been partially excavated beyond the headshunt
crossover leaving the rails in situ presumably to strengthen the base; there was evidence of recently
laid concrete. A big excavation at the junction of Stephenson St and Pinfold St, presumably for services
to be diverted, was only partially filled in. Concrete slab has been laid for both lines and was fairly
complete all along Pinfold St up to the Post Office. The concrete slab begins again on the level on the
corner of Victoria Square and was complete for both lines up to Paradise Circus.
1323 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
462] Londonderry: (BLN 1322.334) The new station P1 buffers will be 6ch nearer Coleraine than old P1
and new P2 will be 3ch nearer Coleraine than new P1. [Thanks to Mike Bridge of TRACKmaps.]
463] Drumcondra: Irish Rail has advised that the station is closed due to engineering work throughout
the weekends of 2/3, 23/24 & 30/31 Mar plus 6/7 Apr with no services calling. Revised Connolly to
Maynooth/Sligo line services use the Connolly P7 to Newcomen Jn PSUL line in both directions.
464] Lisburn - Portadown: There is an engineering closure 23/24 Feb & 2/3 Mar with turnbacks each end.
1308 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
465] 2019 Timetables: These https://goo.gl/QaKdF8 are now available or write to: Visit IOM, 14 Athol
Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1JA, or 01624 654654. As usual there are many special events.
466] Horse Tramway: (BLN 1318.2652) On 14 Feb contractors were moving equipment on to the
cleared site of the demolished Strathallan Tram Depot ready to start work on its new replacement.
PREVIOUS PAGE & ABOVE: Three unusual views of the Horse Tram depot site after demolition and
clearance [which would have been the perfect chance for a VERY all line tour!] the track layout has all
been preserved and is now protected by metal sheets. (Jenny Williamson 14 Feb 2019.)
1323 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
467] Edinburgh Trams (1) Nimbyism: A cross-party campaign has been launched, led by members of
the Unite union, to fight the now £207M plans to extend Edinburgh's tram line. The Stop the Tram
Extension Coalition (STEC) includes Tory and independent councillors, local businesses and the Scottish
Socialist Party. They claim it is 'misguided' to spend millions on extending the tram route at a time of
council cutbacks when the report in to the failings and massive costs overrun of the existing line is still
awaited. They say the capital would be better spent on a bus transport system. Councillors are due to
decide in March whether to go ahead with the proposal to add an extra three mile section to the
existing tram line, from York Place down Leith Walk and on to Newhaven. The campaigners claim the
disruption caused by the project will have a 'catastrophic' impact on the livelihood of Leith's
independent traders, people in the city and Lothian Buses employees (would they be Unite members?)
468] Edinburgh Trams (2): Edinburgh Trams Ltd is taking on all the maintenance of infrastructure and
the trams. Since opening of the line (31 May 2014) this had been the responsibility of Edinburgh City
Council with Edinburgh Trams just operating the service. Edinburgh Trams will now pay the Council an
annual £8.5M asset fee to use of the tram infrastructure. This will result in the company moving from
being profitable to loss making in the short term. However, Edinburgh Trams could improve value for
money by directly managing contracts for the vehicles, infrastructure and systems.
X.19] ABOVE: (BLN 1322.335) On Sun10 Feb 2019 the 14.58 from Largs arrives
at Kilwinning via the facing crossover to turnback in P2 (Greg Beecroft).
469] Scot-rail.co.uk: This (note the hyphen) is Scotland's online rail enthusiast community. The group
is for any enthusiast interested in the railways and trains of Scotland. Whether you are interested in
discussing future line openings, an update of an unusual working due to happen, telling us the locos
you have seen at Mossend or asking a question about something you're unsure about, scot-rail.co.uk
is the place to be. [In addition to the Branch Line Society of course!] Find out more from the website.
470] Down and out at West Calder: From 21 Dec 2018 the Down siding was no longer required as an
electrification depot for the Shotts line. It reverted to its previous status of permanently out of use.
471] ...and at Shettleston: The Engineer's Down Sidings have not been used for many years. As a short
term measure, until there is a requirement for rail traffic, they have been secured temporarily out of
use. With 18 months notice the branch can be returned to use but any reinstatement proposal would
require agreement and evidence that the ground frame is required. If there is no commercial
requirement for the line after five years, there will be a consultation to permanently remove it.
472] Charity begins at home the Forth Bridge: Charities hosting events here benefitted to the tune of
£640k in 2018, the largest annual sum yet recorded by NR. Abseiling events in Jun and Oct, run by
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, raised £200k for the charity with the same amount again for other
participating charities. The local Rotary Club of South Queensferry collected over £178k for local and
international causes during their ninth annual abseil in July. Barnardo's raised £65k for their 'YourView'
trips to the top of the bridge in Sep. All events were facilitated by NR's Forth Bridge contractors,
Balfour Beatty. Since 2012, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland alone has achieved £1.7M from abseiling
events. The Rotary Club expects to exceed £1M in 2019 and in two years, Barnardo's raised over £90k.
473] Raise a glass to Aberdeen: Work has been underway to upgrade and replace the station's glass
roof. The old glass panels, which are prone to cracking and discolouration, are being replaced with
modern light-weight polycarbonate glazing and a new roof access system will be installed for future
maintenance on the Grade 'A' listed structure. Previously, a lack of access to the roof has led to
deterioration of the structure including corrosion, damp, dirt, vegetation and pigeon guano. Work will
be completed by late 2019. It will be delivered in phases to minimise the impact on station operation.
474] Motherwell: Comprehensive station redevelopment starts this year with an enlarged concourse and
ticket gates. The conflict between passengers and road vehicles on P3 (Down Hamilton) will be eliminated.
475] The wee Waterloo upgraded: (BLN 1300.503) Since late Sep work has progressed upgrading the
Aberdeen Waterloo branch. Vegetation has been cleared back, 'Railvac' machines have excavated and
lifted the track which was then replaced prior to reballasting. Once three ballast trains, each with two
Freightliner Class 66s, were on the branch. Meanwhile chalk slurry trains have continued twice a week.
ABOVE: Aberdeen Waterloo, our 16 Apr 1979 'Waterloo & Buchanan' farewell tour from Aberdeen to
the 41 mile long Dyce Jn - Fraserburgh branch (CA 6 Oct 1979). Note the pipe traffic. (Ian Mortimer.)
1323 WALES & THE MARCHES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
476] Cardiff Central: On 29 Jan NR published proposals for the western extremity of the current
GWML electrification project: Cardiff Intersection Bridge - (the Valley Lines overbridge at 170m 14ch) -
to Brickyard (Turnback) Siding 1 (171m 23ch). It is reported to include wiring of the 'middle' lines
('C' & 'D') and crossovers between these locations plus Cardiff Central P0-4 inclusive. This is rather
more than TRACKmaps Book 3 p21 (Jun 2018) suggests. Target completion is Jul 2019 prior to testing.
It is proposed that all trains should lower pantographs on arrival at the station. Class 387* drivers can
then seek signaller authorisation to raise the pantograph again and proceed to the siding in electric
mode. Class 800s will have to do so in diesel mode to avoid interference with Balise protection systems
(item 412), although the pantograph can be raised to power onboard systems once stabled in the
Siding. Siding 2, in a secure engineering compound, will not be electrified. (*Class 387 EMUs are
expected to be used between London and Cardiff for events such as England v Wales rugby matches.)
X.20 TfW Rebranding, ABOVE: The latest style (BLN 1322.349) is on trial here and at Chirk. They are
vinyls overlays. Wrexham General was completely resigned on the morning of 14 Oct (George Jones).
477] What's up at Barry? Under the 'Access for All' scheme improvements are now being designed for
Cadoxton and Barry stations with work expected to begin in Summer 2019 and in 2020 respectively.
There is match-funding from the Welsh Government. The UK Government has allocated a further
£300M nationally to continue this programme in CP6 (2019-2024).
478] Newport: (BLN 1300.514.2) A total possession of the station area is scheduled for S&C work from
22.10 on 24 Dec 2019 until 04.00 on 2 Jan 2020, although P1 could be opened as a west end bay from
28 Dec and in its entirety from 00.01 Mon 30 Dec if required. The latter would be for freight and ECS
movements only with Single Line Working (SLW) between Newport and East Usk Jn over the Down
Relief. A TfW request for access to be made available to/from the Hereford line at Maindee East Jn
(for stock transfer via the SLW section and reversal at Severn Tunnel Jn) is being considered.
479] Fishguard Harbour: (BLNs 1297.175 & 1302.798) The level crossing upgrade from Automatic
Open Crossing Locally monitored to one with two barriers finally took place over the weekend of 9/11
Feb, notified by a late amendment to the Weekly Operating Notice. The Station Siding was to be
recovered, the token instrument on the platform secured OOU and the 'temporary buffer stop'
(sleeper!) at 288m 25ch relocated to a new (unspecified) position for commissioning purposes, to be
replaced by a permanent buffer stop at a later date. Work was completed by 11 Feb start of service.
480] Holyhead: (BLN 1309.1593) At the other end of Wales' network, after remarshalling as 397001,
the Mk5a stock was moved by rail from Anglesey Aluminium Sidings to Manchester International
Depot, Longsight, on 5 Feb. It was sandwiched between two sets of three runner vehicles 'top & tailed'
by 57312 'Solway Princess' and 47815 'Lost Boys 68-88' respectively. (N Wales Coast Railway website.)
481] Leckwith Loop: There is a proposal to run amended TfW and GWR services of three trains per
hour each way from Cardiff Central P4 via Ninian Park and Leckwith Loop North Jn from 28 Jul until
3 Aug 2019 because of the electrification work at Cardiff West.
482] Cambrian lines: (BLN 1299.408) Further replacement of jointed track required/s rail bus services
Newtown - Machynlleth on Suns 10, 17 & 24 Feb and 16 (Sat) & 17 Mar. Machynlleth - Aberystwyth
and Barmouth - Pwllheli on Suns 3 & 10 Mar as well as Machynlleth - Aberystwyth only on Sat 9 Mar.
Work is to be carried out on structures at Dovey Jn requiring another weekend possession in late Mar.
483] Cardiff Parkway: (BLN 1322.355) South Wales Infrastructure has advised that construction should
start in the last quarter of 2020. Three 'total' 52 hour and one 9hour Relief Lines possessions are proposed.
484] Sudbrook: The former branch (TRACKmaps Book 3 p19B - Jun 2018) has been breached by an
access road to a new housing development (plan with e-BLN 1323). This is on the site of the former
Sudbrook Paper Mill. The branch once served it as well as the pumping station for the Severn Tunnel
and was later used to stable the Severn Tunnel emergency train. (NEXT PAGE SECOND PICTURE: Seen
on 14 Jan 2002 - all pictures in this section are by Nick Jones unless specified.) That train was relocated
to Severn Tunnel Junction on 29 Jul 2004 then later replaced by redundant DMU 'Bubble Cars'.
ABOVE: The Severn Tunnel rescue train stabled
on the branch 6 May 2001 (Angus McDougall).
The branch was taken OOU beyond 0m 20ch from
23 Nov 2004 (BLNs 984.678 & 985.19). The track,
disconnected from the main line at Caldicot Jn for
many years, remained intact throughout until very
On 29 Dec 2018 our very peripatetic member
visited reporting that there are two separate
operational NR compounds on the surface -
shown on the plan as 'Severn Tunnel Pump
Station' and 'Pump House'. The difference is
unknown - presumably it makes more sense when
viewed from the tunnel! Anyhow, both still appear
to be in use and well secured. As far as can be
seen, track remains (but is extremely overgrown)
from the former Caldicot Jn on the main line, to
Pulp Mills Level Crossing (0m 40ch), after which
about 4-5ch has been removed by the developers.
Beyond that, the track (double at this point)
continues as shown in TRACKmaps. The loop converges back to one track. The point for the paper mill
survives but nothing inside the mill site. Track continues and the section between Post Office No1 and
No2 Crossings appears to be a 'garden' with plant tubs, although apparently not tended much recently.
A few yards beyond Post Office No2 Crossing is the Pumping Station boundary fence where the rails
end and all track inside the site has been removed, although the buffer stops (very smartly painted!)
remain at the former (until 2004) end of the line (0m 73ch). The branch formerly continued a further
8ch with a backshunt to a second pumping station but that is long removed (date please anyone?).
From the river bank, one can see the rail-served Severnside Energy Recovery Centre (near Severn
Beach station) across the River Severn. https://goo.gl/NFNMSo is a small interpretation centre/
museum. However, it was closed on 29 Dec; permanently, or possibly just because it was the
Christmas period? https://goo.gl/tz7Do2 is a video of the emergency train on an exercise in Jan 1993.
ABOVE: The former Pulp Mill connection (at about 40ch); part of the M4 Severn Bridge is middle left.
BELOW: The western NR compound is by the east end of the branch loop which begins after Pulp Mills
Crossing (0m 40ch). The new estate is in the background where the track is lifted (both 28 Dec 2018).
ABOVE: Our 16 Mar 1988 'Usk & Severn Rambler' https://goo.gl/3Rm2Ai at the east end of the loop
before Post Office No1 Level Crossing, the pumping station is background middle right. (Ian Mortimer)
BELOW: Approaching Post Office No1 Level Crossing (0m 61ch), the ¾ mile post is right. The pumping
station is far left, upper middle. NEXT PAGE UPPER: Post Office No1 Level Crossing (both 28 Dec 2018).
BELOW: Post Office No2 Crossing (0m 68ch) looking east with the pumping station in the background.
ABOVE: The 15 May 1971 'Tintern Rambler' https://goo.gl/sxWpyn which, of course also went to…
Barry Pier (AOMcD). BELOW: 47½ years later on 28 Dec 2018; a view of where the DMU (above) was
stood (between Post Office No1 and No2 Crossings) - as can be seen the rails are in situ (just about).
ABOVE: Sudbrook Pumping station, the end of the branch, on 14 Jan 2002 with track (Nick Jones).
BELOW: End of branch (0m 73ch) looking east in 2018 (the River Severn is left of the larger building).
NEXT PAGE: Now trackless here by 2018, the end of branch (0m 73ch) looking west towards Caldicot
Jn; the Grade II listed Pumping House is on the left. Sudbrook was one of those branches you kept
going on tours to in the hope of going a bit further, and just occasionally you did!
ABOVE: Looking across the River Severn from Sudbrook through the Second Severn Crossing
(M4) Bridge to Severn Beach and the Severnside Incinerator Energy from Waste facility.
485] Hereford: NR wants to remove sidings 2-5 incl at Hereford Diesel Depot (Sectional Appendix
name), also known as Hereford Diesel Sidings (BLN 1265.1869) or Edgar Street Sidings (TRACKmaps
Book 3 p30B - Jun 2018). They have been unserviceable for some years and disused since the secure
'tamper compound' (which couldn't be tampered with) for on-track machines was commissioned north
of the station (50m 66ch). Three hand operated points will be removed, reducing maintenance and
inspection requirements; effectively increasing the length of the remaining GWR Stabling Siding (No1)
- the closest to the running lines, by 3ch. It will then be able to accommodate 10 car IETs if required.
This siding is used by GWR and some West Midland services to turnback ECS and stable between trips.
486] Welsh Concessionary Travel: (BLN 1299.407) As it is funded by the Welsh Government (unlike
commercial promotions such as Club 55 - RIP) this has survived the franchise change. Despite previous
fears, and minimal publicity, validity is unchanged except that all holders of Welsh Local Authority
Concessionary Travel Passes are now eligible. [No wonder our Machynlleth based East Midlands and
IOM Regional Editor looks so smug!] This amounts to an improvement as the disabled can now apply
for them, not just the over 60s. https://goo.gl/6Qc2s3 has details. Of note, the free travel available
between 'Llandudno' and Blaenau Ffestiniog and 'Wrexham' and Hawarden Bridge is now all year.
487] Resignalling: (BLN 1322.347) Proposed commissioning dates for other CP6 (2019-24) schemes are
now Mar 2022 (Park Jn), Sep 2022 (Tondu) and Mar 2023 (Port Talbot West Phase 2). A member
comments that there is quite a contrast between Port Talbot 'A' panel, the long old style 'B' panel and
the newer 'C' panel. 'A' panel is busy, supervises Pencoed crossing and access to/from Margam Yard.
Ths Swansea station area is now to transfer to Wales Railway Operating Centre (near Cardiff Central).
488] Landore: (BLN 1322.350) Hafod Siding was created a years ago on the site of the two fuel sidings.
The Swansea end entrance to the loop has been out of use for many years before; possibly the last use
was by the Travelling Post Office (which last ran 9 Jan 2004) when it stabled at Landore.